Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma challenged over ‘class suicide’ comments

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The COGTA minister has been clashing with the DA for most of this enforced lockdown period. But during this online meeting of Parliamentary representatives, things turned a little sour. Dlamini-Zuma refused to answer a question which related to these comments she made about “class suicide” back in April.

WHAT DID NKOSAZANA DLAMINI-ZUMA SAY ABOUT ‘CLASS SUICIDE’

The COGTA minister has been clashing with the DA for most of this enforced lockdown period. But during this online meeting of Parliamentary representatives, things turned a little sour. Dlamini-Zuma refused to answer a question which related to these comments she made about “class suicide” back in April.

“These opportunities call for more sacrifices and – if needs be – what Amilcar Cabral called ‘class suicide’ wherein we must rally behind the common cause. The Coronavirus knows no class, race, or geographical location. We must continue some practices and restrictions from the current phase into the future.”

“The coronavirus, has exposed our deep-seated fault lines, including Apartheid spatial planning, as we have said many a time. However, COVID-19 also offers us an opportunity to accelerate the implementation of some long agreed-upon structural changes to enable reconstruction, development and growth.”

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, 25 April 2020

DA’S DUBIOUS DLAMINI-ZUMA QUESTION

NCOP deputy chair Sylvia Lucas and ANC chief whip Seiso Mohai both labelled the question – posed by the DA’s justice and security representative George Michalakis – as a ‘political statement’. Michalakis asked NDZ ‘which class she wanted to commit suicide’, sparking a furious reaction from the ruling party.

The exchange died down eventually, and the session was allowed to continue. But Michalakis is certainly not relenting on the matter. He branded Dlamini-Zuma ‘disgraceful’ for missing a number of Parliamentary sessions in 2020.

WHAT IS CLASS SUICIDE?

‘Class suicide’ is a concept pushed forward by Amilcar Cabral. The Guinean, anti-colonial leader was one of Africa’s most respected academics, and his political activism created a lasting legacy on the continent. He argues that, for society to truly narrow the gap between the rich and poor, the upper classes have to sacrifice their privilege and power. A notion that Dlamini-Zuma was trying to link to coronavirus.

The disease, in some ways, levels the playing field between the wealthy and the disadvantaged. It does not pick and choose who to infect. NDZ may have been trying to connect this to the ‘class suicide’ theory, but by providing little context, it ended up riling a significant amount of South Africans.

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