Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

South African Lawmaker Rapped for Remark on Cape Town Jewish Property Owners

A ruling African National Congress party lawmaker has apologized for what has been characterized as anti-Semitic remarks, after a South African lawmaker filed a complaint with the party.

Veteran lawmaker Professor Ben Turok, who co-authored the liberation movement’s Freedom Charter, the 1955 document designed to give all South Africans equal rights, filed the complaint against Marius Fransman, African National Congress Western Cape chairman and deputy minister for international relations and co-operation for what he called the “anti-Semitic” remarks made by Fransman, according to the daily Cape Times.

At a meeting last week of the Cape Town Press Club, Fransman, addressing the topic of land ownership in the city said, according to a Sapa report: ‘The reality is……..98 percent…….of the landowners and property owners actually is the white community and, in particular, also people in the Jewish community.’

Turok called Fransman’s statement damaging and divisive, saying that it was unacceptable to identify people or ownership along ethnic lines for no reason.

Fransman apologized “for the perception that was created that I was singling out the Jewish community” in last week’s remark, adding that he did not feel that his comments were anti-Semitic. Speaking on Cape Talk radio Tuesday morning,

Turok, who heads Parliament’s ethics committee, told Cape Talk radio Tuesday morning, in an interview that he accepted the apology, but it was up to the party to decide whether to go ahead with disciplinary measures or not.”

This is the second official complaint of anti-Semitism against Fransman. In February this year, he said in an interview on Muslim radio station Voice of the Cape, that building contracts had been taken from Muslim businesses by the opposition Democratic Alliance-ruled Western Cape government and awarded to Jewish businessmen.

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies took Fransman to the South African Human Rights Commission over the earlier remark, with Fransman initially demanding a public apology from the board for “misleading the people.” The parties are currently involved in a mediation process over the earlier remark. At the time, the board said that Fransman’s motive was to attract votes for the country’s national elections to be held next year.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.