South Africa Jewish Leaders Complain About Minister's 'Inflammatory' Remarks

Blamed Opposition for Taking Cape Contracts From Muslims

By JTA

Published March 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies lodged a complaint with the country’s Human Rights Commission over ”inflammatory remarks” made by Deputy Foreign Minister Marius Fransman.

Marius Fransman
Marius Fransman

In a radio interview last month, Fransman claimed that Jewish businessmen in the Western Cape region have benefitted from contracts previously held by members of the local Muslim community. “We saw that the DA [Democratic Alliance party] had given over building contracts … that historically were in the hands of Muslim participants and now they have given it to people from the Jewish community,” Fransman said.

When asked to comment again on the issue, Fransman refused to retract his remarks.

Fransman’s remarks ”are likely to foster ill-feeling between the Muslim and the Jewish communities of Cape Town,” the Jewish Board of Deputies told the human rights board.

Fransman offered a backhanded apology on Thursday morning, saying that the Jewish group’s “accusation that I am pitting one religious community against another for vote-catching purposes is deplorable under any circumstances, and is particularly unacceptable especially coming from a lobby that remains silent on its support for apartheid Israel’s human rights abuses as well as the Democratic Alliance’s war on the poor. If what I said created this impression, I apologize.”

Fransman told the South African daily Businessmen on Wednesday that, ”I am asking the Jewish board to act South African … not holier than thou.”

In another interview, with the Times newspaper, Fransman said: ”The Board should be more ‘patriotic’ and should ask itself whether it represented South African Jews or the Israeli government.”

Mary Kluk, the Board of Deputies’ national chairperson, criticized Fransman for leveling false charges of dual loyalty against the Jews of South Africa.

”The SAJBD finds it appalling that Mr. Fransman has attacked those who speak out on behalf of the rights of Jewish citizens of being un-South African,” Kluk said. “He has effectively accused the SAJBD and, by implication the Jewish community that it represents, of being unpatriotic because of the stand it is taking on behalf of South African Jews/”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.