An uproar over a painting depicting President Jacob Zuma with his genitals exposed was not about race, Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said on Wednesday.
The public debate on the issue said more about the good and bad state of relationships in South Africa than it did of the painting, he told the National Assembly.
"[An] Afrikaans radio [station] held a phone-in programme of an hour about the painting," Mulder said.
"Eighty percent of the people who had phoned proposed that the painting should be removed immediately because it is in poor taste and is offensive. The majority of these callers were Afrikaans and white."
Mulder was speaking during the Presidency budget vote.
He said in a programme on an English radio channel, callers emphasised "freedom of speech and tolerance".
The participants were evenly divided in favour of and opposed to the painting.
White and black callers were on both sides of the argument.
Mulder said it was "noticeable" that the views in favour of and opposed to the painting were not those of white against black.
He said ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe had immediately seen the painting as "an issue of white against black and as racism".
Mulder said Mantashe saying that the more black South Africans forgave and forgot, "the more they get a kick in the teeth" was irresponsible.
"What an irresponsible statement with which he incites people against each other."
Mulder said Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, who is also general secretary of the SA Communist Party, had followed in the same tone by "throwing down the race-card".
Mulder said Barend La Grange, accused of painting red crosses on the painting, had explained that he committed the act in reaction to the racial argument "to demonstrate as Afrikaner that this is not a racial white-black issue".
"I am tired that certain leaders use the race-card in every debate," Mulder said.
"It also goes for journalists who cannot hide their own racial bias in opinion pieces. The past three months there have been a number of these debates. This is short-term politics.
"It is lazy politics. It is politics which incite people without thinking about the long-term consequences of this for South Africa," he said.