Cape Town, 25 February 2018: On Friday 23 February 2018, African National Congress Member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature Sharon Davids, followed a line of antisemitic oratory used for centuries as she implied that the water crisis in the Cape is a fabrication of Premier Helen Zille, the Democratic Alliance and pernicious influence of the Jews. Her remarks were prejudiced, discriminatory and in clear violation of Section 9 of the Constitution which guarantees freedom from discrimination on the basis of one's religion.
Blaming minority groups for political gain at a time of crisis is not original, nor is it acceptable in our country. We have seen homophobic religious leaders blame members of the LGBTQI+ community for the present drought. And now antisemitic rhetoric has been added to this hateful discourse by government officials.
Rael Kaimowitz, Chairperson of the SAJBD (Cape Council) remarks “When elected officials speak of a “Jewish mafia” as responsible for the ongoing water crisis in Cape Town, they are following in the line of conspiracy theories used to persecute Jewish people for centuries.” Kaimowitz, explains further, “This is not the first time that the ANC in the Western Cape has resorted to antisemitic conspiracy theories and divisive rhetoric in a quest to sew division between communities. In 2013 it was ANC Western Cape leader Marius Fransman, and we saw this behaviour repeated on Friday. We say to Ms. Davids, it is a fact that we are experiencing the worst drought ever recorded in our region, and this kind of vitriol does little to help the situation. While conspiracy theories have been circulating during this crisis, it is irresponsible and unacceptable for a political leader to make such an utterance.
There is no place for hate in South Africa today. In the interest of transparency and understanding, we believe that a meeting with local ANC leadership and Ms Davids is imperative at this point.”
Liza-Jane Saban (083 565 1906)
Head of Communications: South African Jewish Board of Deputies (Cape Council)