South Africa: 600,000 whites descending into poverty -
AfriForum Youth and Solidarity Helping Hand today extended an invitation to the leaders of the Young Communist League (YCL) to accompany them on a visit to a white squatter camp.
The invitation was extended in light of the recent remark by the YCL that affirmative action and black economic empowerment would continue until "whites have just as little as their black counterparts". During recent talks between AfriForum Youth and the YCL, affirmative action and the phenomenon of white poverty in South Africa were discussed.
The aim of the visit to the white squatter camp would be to show the YCL how severe white poverty is and to discuss what can be done to combat this growing problem.
The former Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) conducted a study in April 2009 to identify the core challenges facing impoverished whites in South Africa. The study has not been formally released, but has been made available to Helping Hand.
"According to the study, white communities do not receive equal treatment when it comes to the issuing of disability and child grants, and affirmative action only leads to the further decline of these communities," according to Dr. Danie Langner, Executive Director of Helping Hand.
"The study clearly shows that white South Africans are becoming increasingly marginalised and that government programmes need to offer room for providing development and support to impoverished whites," Langner said.
Well-known demographer Prof. Flip Smit has found that about 600 000 white South Africans are descending into poverty.
"Government officials themselves are not even aware of white poverty and government does nothing to include white people in the future of South Africa. Whites simply have to form part of government's plan to relieve poverty. However, government is using race to create a divide between people," Langner said.
AfriForum Youth's national chairperson, Ernst Roets, said that AfriForum Youth is shocked about the YCL's statement. "We know that the YCL places a lot of emphasis on upliftment and poverty relief. However, we were under the impression that the YCL, unlike the ANC Youth League, was not a racist organisation. The emphasis of the economic policy should be on uplifting the poor, and not making everyone poor."
Roets added that poverty should not be tackled on a racial basis. "We must focus on the socio-economic conditions and reach the point where young people can be exempt from affirmative action."