Zuma: White Afrikaans citizens have nothing to fear in SA

Zuma was previously criticised for saying Jan Van Riebeeck's arrival was the beginning of all SA's problems.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - A political analyst says government will have to do more to win over the support of all Afrikaans South Africans.

President Jacob Zuma on Thursday reassured minority groups, including white Afrikaans speaking citizens that they have nothing to fear in South Africa.

The president was responding to questions and comments raised during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) debate over the past two days.

He's been criticised for comments he made recently about Jan van Riebeeck who he blames for the country's numerous problems.

In January, during the ANC's 103rd birthday bash in Cape Town, he said Van Riebeeck's arrival in Cape Town was the beginning of all South Africa's problems.

Zuma said, "How can you say we told the Afrikaners to go? No, I said the problem began when Jan van Riebeeck came here."

Analyst Dirk Kotze believes government must further allay fears around issues like affirmative action.

"It was very difficult to surmise all of the sentiments, of especially Afrikaans speaking people, merely on these remarks that he made. I think there are many policy issues as well as social issues that the government first has to address."

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This comes as the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) told Eyewitness News on Thursday that it's investigating a rash of hate speech complaints involving prominent politicians, including Zuma.

The commission said it received three complaints levelled against Zuma and one against National Assembly Speaker and African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Baleka Mbete.

The SAHRC's Isaac Mangena said the commission is probing the complaints, including the ones that relate to the remarks made by the president about Van Riebeeck.