Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum has been to the mountain top to sound false alarm bells about what they initially described as a white genocide unfolding in South Africa.
In their representations to the international community, they apparently caught the ear of US President Donald Trump, who was reportedly swift to tweet that he’d asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to pay attention to the plight of white farmers in South Africa.
Luckily, the world has come to realise, even at this late hour, to take anything Trump takes to Twitter about with a pinch of salt.
It is not helping that he’s unable to sift through the intelligence the white supremacist lunatic fringe feed him, to separate the wheat from the chaff.
To gauge the quality of the integrity Trump relies on regarding the plight of white farmers in the country, one has to look at the character of the sources of this fallacy, in the person of one Steve Hofmeyr, the Afrikaans music singer.
According to Hofmeyr, “the number of white South Africans killed by blacks would fill a soccer stadium, white Afrikaners are being killed like flies and a white farmer is murdered every five days”.
There is hardly any reliable data Hofmeyr and other like-minded purveyors of these untruths can produce to buttress their claims and when asked to furnish same, Hofmeyr did what was expected of him, he vanished.
You’d expect some like AfriForum’s head of policy and action, Ernst Roets, who travels a lot to America where he gets interviewed by the likes of Fox News, to walk the talk. But he is unable to back up his claims.
Initially, when all this disinformation campaign to sully South Africa’s international standing began, the chant was that there is a white genocide taking place at the southernmost tip of Africa.
AfriForum claimed to have had the ear of the UN, but the New York-based world body’s own Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide holds a definition of genocide that does not match what is happening in South Africa.
In the present convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
If, according to the last apartheid president, FW de Klerk, the heresy was not a crime against humanity, there is no way, in comparison, the murder of white farmers can be termed a genocide.
By their definitions alone, there is no way, however theatrical anyone would like to be, that they can convince the UN and the world that there’s genocide unfolding in South Africa.
Unless, of course, the listener has the brainpower of the 45th President of the US.
When this did not wash, the conspiracy theorists moved to refer to the killings as farm murders, but still, in this definition, they insist on the parochialism of singling out white victims.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, who was in the Free State to commiserate with the family of slain farm manager Brendin Horner, points out that in their statistics, black farmers are also accounted for in those numbers.
Murder is murder, Cele told breakfast talk-show host Sakina Kamwendo on Wednesday morning: “We see murder, not colour.”
But in the eyes of Roets and those who want to use Senekal and Paul Roux to incite a race war, white farmers are a special case that need extra attention.
He even has the gumption to lambaste anyone who sees the situation differently: “AfriForum welcomes the fact that Ramaphosa addressed the incident and regards it as a step in the right direction, but it, however, does not discard the damage Ramaphosa himself caused when he denied the occurrence of farm murders in South Africa on an international platform.
“It also doesn’t discard the damage which Bheki Cele, the Minister of Police, caused earlier in his derogatory remarks towards farmers.”
There is a view that “there’s no evidence to support claims that white farmers are more targeted than anyone else” and it is incontrovertible.
Every death is regrettable. There is no death that is more heinous than another.
Farmworkers, at the receiving end of the egregious violence from their white employers, need the same protection the farmers would want to arrogate to themselves.
After George Floyd was kneed to death on the video that went viral on the net, Republican Val Deming, a former cop herself, lamented the action of the president: “As we’re certainly all watching and grieving with the Floyd family, America is on fire right now and the president of the United States is walking around with gasoline.”
Fast forward to Friday in Senekal. There were many hotheads walking around with imaginary gas cans on the streets of the dorpie in the eastern part of the Free State.
The EFF painted the town red in sharp contrast to the brown old army fatigues of the SADF worn by a coterie of warmongers led by ex-Colonel Franz Jooste.
The brown fatigues, like the old apartheid flag, are not a fashion statement – they are worn to incite.
Jooste, speaking in Afrikaans to eNCA, said “we are proud of this uniform”.
It is a reckless statement, given the bad memories the uniform invokes among black people. The EFF and the ANC added to the volatility of the situation with their own ill-considered soundbytes.
But the danger of speech isn’t just confined to what is said – what isn’t said is equally dangerous.
Kriel of AfriForum said in a statement released on the day that they were “proud that our supporters today showed that you can be angry about farm murders and the terror that is unleashed on our farms, but at the same time displaying this anger in a very orderly fashion”.
Anger and “very orderly fashion” are the ingredients of a classic oxymoron. Psychology warns that “men get angry to cover their fear”.
After the dust has settled, the ordinary black man in the streets of Senekal knows only too well what anger drives the white anarchist farmers to unleash on them, away from the camera lens.
There is a menace in Senekal known as Piet Wors who terrorises any black that crosses his path.
Kriel and AfriForum say: “We want to encourage farmers to join their local neighbourhood watch to ensure a safe environment. This involvement will also ensure the expert involvement of safety role-players.”
The “experts” cited here are the likes of Jooste. Go figure.
In his own words, Jooste lumps the likes of Pik Botha, FW de Klerk, Roelf Meyer and Leon Wessels as turncoats who betrayed the Afrikaner cause for negotiating the 1994 settlement.
This is the expert Kriel entrusts with the yoke of keeping the peace!
Jooste himself says “there’s nothing illegal” about training self-defence units on the farms, without mentioning the atrocities that accrue from such “training”.
To get a sense of the toxicity of the human presence is Senekal on Friday, throw in names like Helen Zille, champion of divisive tweets; Dr Theo de Jager of Southern African Agri Initiative; and foot-soldiers armed to the teeth.
Credit must go to the police for keeping the belligerent groupings apart.