Mindful of the shameful legacy this country carries NTEU expects the courts to treat the violence displayed at the Maselspoort Resort, outside Bloemfontein, with the urgency it demands. We expect the law to take its course and for justice to be served. NTEU also cautions that a drawn-out process will further divide an already fractured people, allowing opportunists and anarchists to high-jack the platform for their own ambitions instead of where the focus really should be. The union extends its support to the young victims, their parents and their loved ones.
The reality is that we have not yet stepped free from the hurts of the past. The reality is that we have not yet resolved our differences or recognized the hard work behind creating a true rainbow nation. The reality is that in many parts of the country, and in the hidden spaces of many hearts, we have not reconciled with each other. We remain a people divided, some by the scars of the past, others from new scars inflicted on them daily. Factions on all sides feel that they are being treated unjustly in today's South Africa and the chasm is simply expanding.
The recent arrest of right-wing leader, Harry Knoesen, for the group's planned attempt to violently overthrow the government, is a lightpost revealing that the sickness of hate is still infecting South Africans. We are deeply concerned for the minds of our children, especially those who are exposed to this rhetoric and indoctrinated with the principles of discrimination. Being vulnerable they are fostered into becoming the racists of tomorrow.
The union is also reminded of the extraordinary level of violence and abuse towards children in our country - a factor that feeds the systemic cycle behind our horrific GBV and child abuse numbers. The "Freestate pool attack" suggests that these adult men experienced no moral conflict with attacking a child.
As stated by NTEU NEC for Social Justice, Dr Titus Williams, "No amount of reasoning or debate can justify the barbaric behaviour of those grown men toward minors. As a custodian of social justice this behaviour should be condemned and we should all scream that justice prevail!".
NTEU calls on all South Africans to reach deep within themselves for the strength to continue towards being a united people and for the resolve to realise the long-envisioned rainbow nation. The union commits to stand against racism, discrimination and violence - in all its forms, in the workplace and beyond.
It is hard work to be a people united, especially with a past such as ours, but it is important work.
NTEU Brand & Communications Manager
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NTEU is a politically non-aligned trade union organizing exclusively in the Higher Education sector and is aligned to FEDUSA, the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa.