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South Africa's new government brings Black and white together. It's also reviving racial tensions

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South Africa's new government brings Black and white together. It's also reviving racial tensions
News

News

South Africa's new government brings Black and white together. It's also reviving racial tensions

2024-06-22 13:21 Last Updated At:13:31

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in an image of unity.

Yet the power-sharing agreement sealed a week ago between President Cyril Ramaphosa's African National Congress party and the Democratic Alliance, one of South Africa's few white-led parties, has unwittingly renewed some racial rifts.

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FILE - Main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader, John Steenhuisen, delivers his speech at a final election rally in Benoni, South Africa, on May 26, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in an image of unity.

FILE - Supporters of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party attend a final election rally, in Benoni, South Africa, on May 26, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - Supporters of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party attend a final election rally, in Benoni, South Africa, on May 26, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - Leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance John Steenhuisen, right, shakes hands with ANC's Chairman Gwede Mantashe, left, after elections on a visit to the Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - Leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance John Steenhuisen, right, shakes hands with ANC's Chairman Gwede Mantashe, left, after elections on a visit to the Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - South Africans cheer ahead of the inauguration of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa as President at the Union Buildings South Lawns in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 19, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

FILE - South Africans cheer ahead of the inauguration of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa as President at the Union Buildings South Lawns in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 19, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

In this photo provided by the South African Government Communication and Information System, (GCIS), South African Président Cyril Ramaphosa, right, greets opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, left, at the first sitting of Parliament since elections, in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, June 14, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (South African GCIS via AP)

In this photo provided by the South African Government Communication and Information System, (GCIS), South African Président Cyril Ramaphosa, right, greets opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, left, at the first sitting of Parliament since elections, in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, June 14, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (South African GCIS via AP)

FILE - South Africans gather ahead of the inauguration of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa as President at the Union Buildings South Lawns in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 19, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

FILE - South Africans gather ahead of the inauguration of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa as President at the Union Buildings South Lawns in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 19, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

Many Black South Africans have expressed discomfort with a white-led party being back in power, even in a coalition. The country is haunted by the apartheid system of white minority rule that ended 30 years ago but is still felt by millions among the Black majority who were ruthlessly oppressed by a white government and remain affected by unresolved issues of poverty and inequality.

South Africa is now faced with the likelihood of seeing more white people in senior government positions than ever since apartheid ended. White people make up around 7% of the country’s population of 62 million.

The ANC liberated South Africa from apartheid in 1994 under Nelson Mandela, the country's first Black president. Its three-decade political dominance ended in the landmark May 29 election, forcing it to form a coalition. The DA, with its roots in liberal white parties that stood against apartheid, won the second largest share of votes.

Both have promoted their coming together in a multi-party coalition as a new unity desperately needed in a country with vast socioeconomic problems.

But history lingers. The DA suspended one of its white lawmakers Thursday, days after being sworn into Parliament, over racist slurs he made in a social media video more than a decade ago. Renaldo Gouws — reportedly a student in his 20s at the time — used an especially offensive term for Black people that was infamous during apartheid and is now considered hate speech.

Gouws faces disciplinary action from his party, and the South African Human Rights Commission said it will take him to court. The DA, which previously fended off allegations of favoring whites, is again under scrutiny.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions, an important political ally of the ANC, asserted that Gouws’ outburst was symptomatic of a DA that is “soft on racists.” The DA “needs to reflect on and address this if it wants to be accepted as a partner in the government of national unity by ordinary South Africans,” it said.

DA leader John Steenhuisen denied in a television interview that his party is dedicated only to white interests, saying it wouldn’t have won the second largest share of votes in a Black majority country if it was. The DA has Black and white lawmakers and supporters, but its only Black leader left the party in 2019, questioning its commitment to Black South Africans.

Political analyst Angelo Fick said the DA does have a “sense of whiteness” in the eyes of many South Africans and has created that by being “utterly disinterested in speaking to the concerns about race from Black South Africans.”

Shortly before Gouws' case, racially charged language came from another direction when the MK Party of former President Jacob Zuma — once an ANC leader — called Ramaphosa a “house negro” for entering into the agreement with the DA. Zuma's party also referred to white DA chairperson Helen Zille as Ramaphosa's “slave master.”

The MK Party and the Economic Freedom Fighters — the third and fourth biggest parties in Parliament — have refused to join what the ANC calls a government of national unity open to all. They said the fundamental reason is the DA, which they say is committed only to the well-being of South Africa's white minority.

“We do not agree to this marriage of convenience to consolidate the white monopoly power over the economy,” EFF leader Julius Malema said.

Malema has sometimes provoked racial tensions in demanding change, once saying, “We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now,” and that South Africa’s “white man has been too comfortable for too long.”

He now says his party is not against white people but against a perceived “white privilege” that leaves 64% of Black people in poverty compared with 1% of white people, according to a 2021 report by the South African Human Rights Commission.

Malema represents a new opposition to the ANC by many Black South Africans frustrated over the race-based inequality that's evident after 30 years of freedom. White people generally live in posh neighborhoods. Millions of Black people live in impoverished townships on the outskirts.

That frustration led many voters to give up on the ANC. The concerns about teaming up with the DA could weaken the party even further.

In his inauguration speech Wednesday, Ramaphosa recognized the “toxic” divisions that remain decades after Mandela preached racial reconciliation. “Our society remains deeply unequal and highly polarized,” Ramaphosa said.

The ANC is trying to use the coalition as a kind of reboot of Mandela's ideals.

“To us, it doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white," ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula said of the agreement with the DA. Mandela had used the phrase to signal he was open to all races serving in South Africa's government.

“Fundamentally," Mbalula said, “the question is how do we move the country forward.”

AP Africa news: https://apnews.com/hub/africa

FILE - Main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader, John Steenhuisen, delivers his speech at a final election rally in Benoni, South Africa, on May 26, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - Main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party leader, John Steenhuisen, delivers his speech at a final election rally in Benoni, South Africa, on May 26, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - Supporters of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party attend a final election rally, in Benoni, South Africa, on May 26, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - Supporters of the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party attend a final election rally, in Benoni, South Africa, on May 26, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - Leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance John Steenhuisen, right, shakes hands with ANC's Chairman Gwede Mantashe, left, after elections on a visit to the Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - Leader of the main opposition Democratic Alliance John Steenhuisen, right, shakes hands with ANC's Chairman Gwede Mantashe, left, after elections on a visit to the Results Operation Centre (ROC) in Midrand, Johannesburg, South Africa, on May 31, 2024. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe, File)

FILE - South Africans cheer ahead of the inauguration of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa as President at the Union Buildings South Lawns in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 19, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

FILE - South Africans cheer ahead of the inauguration of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa as President at the Union Buildings South Lawns in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 19, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

In this photo provided by the South African Government Communication and Information System, (GCIS), South African Président Cyril Ramaphosa, right, greets opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, left, at the first sitting of Parliament since elections, in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, June 14, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (South African GCIS via AP)

In this photo provided by the South African Government Communication and Information System, (GCIS), South African Président Cyril Ramaphosa, right, greets opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) leader, John Steenhuisen, left, at the first sitting of Parliament since elections, in Cape Town, South Africa, Friday, June 14, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (South African GCIS via AP)

FILE - South Africans gather ahead of the inauguration of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa as President at the Union Buildings South Lawns in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 19, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

FILE - South Africans gather ahead of the inauguration of South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa as President at the Union Buildings South Lawns in Pretoria, South Africa, on June 19, 2024. In a country where racial segregation was once brutally enforced, South Africa's new coalition government has brought a Black president and a white opposition leader together in what is on the face of it a picture of unity. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

DETROIT (AP) — Shohei Ohtani's two-out RBI double gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a ninth-inning lead and they held on to beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 on Friday, ending a four-game losing streak.

The Dodgers, after getting swept in Philadelphia, trailed 3-0 after two innings.

“It was really important to get a (win) today,” Ohtani said through an interpreter. “I think we played really good and I'm glad it turned out well.”

Chris Taylor singled off Jason Foley (2-3) with one out in the ninth and took third on Austin Barnes' pinch-hit single off Tyler Holton. Gavin Lux popped out, but Ohtani hit a 0-1 sinker to the deepest part of the outfield for what appeared to be a two-run double.

However, the ball bounced into the shrubbery beyond the center-field fence, forcing Barnes to stop at third.

“All I wanted to do was get a base hit — just put the ball in play,” Ohtani said. “I was really hoping that ball would get through and it did.”

After Tigers manager A.J. Hinch intentionally walked Will Smith to load the bases, right fielder Wenceel Pérez made a sliding catch to rob Freddie Freeman of a two-run single.

“I don't think I've ever issued an intentional walk to pitch to someone like Freddie, but that's how good Will Smith is against lefties," Hinch said. “If Wenceel doesn't sell out on that ball, we might have not had a chance in the ninth.”

Daniel Hudson struck out Ryan Vilade to start the ninth, but walked Colt Keith and Pérez before retiring Matt Vierling and Riley Greene to record his fourth save.

The Dodgers trailed 3-2 in the eighth, but two-out singles by Smith and Freeman put runners on the corners. Foley came in, but Teoscar Hernández bounced a tying single between first and second.

Neither starter was involved in the decision. Tarik Skubal allowed two runs on two hits in six innings, striking out eight in his last start before the All-Star Game.

James Paxson allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in 3 2/3 innings.

The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first. With one out, Justyn-Henry Malloy singled, Vierling walked and Greene hit a two-run double into the right-center gap. Malloy made it 3-0 with a two-out triple in the second.

Skubal didn't allow a hit until Freeman homered with one out in the fourth. Andy Pages made it 3-2 with an RBI single later in the inning.

“The pitch to Freddie was right down the middle, but what is frustrating is the walk to Teoscar and then he comes around to score,” Skubal said. “They had two hits and a walk in that inning, but they didn't threaten much other than that.”

The Dodgers got the tying run to third in the seventh, but Will Vest struck out Miguel Vargas to end the inning.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts helped his team to two outs on the bases in the bottom of the seventh. Pérez led off the inning with a single and appeared to have stolen second, but the call was overturned on reply. With two outs, Blake Treinen needed another review to show he had picked Greene off first.

“Everything matters, especially in a close game,” Hinch said. “It's tough because Wenceel gets a big hit and steals on the first pitch. If he came off the base, it was barely. That's a key out, because you would have a runner on second with no one out.”

The game drew 42,060 fans, the first sellout at Comerica Park since a crowd of 44,711 for the home opener against the Oakland Athletics on April 5.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Yoshinobu Yamamoto (triceps) has begun throwing from 60 feet. ... INF Max Muncy (oblique) is still not swinging a bat. Roberts said he doesn't expect Muncy back before the trade deadline.

UP NEXT

The teams play the second of a three-game series Saturday afternoon with Dodgers LHP Justin Wrobleski (0-1, 7.20) facing RHP Keider Montero (1-2. 4.64).

Detroit Tigers' Tarik Skubal pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Detroit Tigers' Tarik Skubal pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Detroit Tigers' Justyn-Henry Malloy dives into third base with an RBI-triple against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Detroit Tigers' Justyn-Henry Malloy dives into third base with an RBI-triple against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the second inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chris Taylor, left, takes out Detroit Tigers' Wenceel Perez (46) trying to steal second base during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chris Taylor, left, takes out Detroit Tigers' Wenceel Perez (46) trying to steal second base during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani hits a double that bounced over the center field wall to drive in one run and take a lead over the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani hits a double that bounced over the center field wall to drive in one run and take a lead over the Detroit Tigers in the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani, right, listens to Robert Van Scoyoc, left, during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Los Angeles Dodgers' Shohei Ohtani, right, listens to Robert Van Scoyoc, left, during the first inning of a baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, Friday, July 12, 2024, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

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