CAPE TOWN — Rallying to the defence of AfriForum and Solidarity following what he believes are baseless, unfair attacks typifying them as selfish and racist, Ed Herbst eloquently lays out their humanitarian track records, painting an entirely different picture. It gets you wondering just which world their detractors are living in. It’s an old truism that we don’t see the world as it is, but as we are – and South Africans of every hue and culture carry the collective wounding of our combative history. Columnists and analysts are perhaps no different as they assemble facts to argue their particular view of the world. The debate into which Herbst has waded, and to which he adds much-needed light, perhaps raises more questions than it provides answers, especially when one tries to discern why somebody with as distinguished a journalistic record as Max du Preez excoriates these two organisations. If what Herbst outlines here helps sketches the truer face of Afrikaners, then he’s providing a much-needed antidote to the negative populist perception that far too many people so easily subscribe to, based on recent history. This balance, it seems to me, is an invaluable contribution to the common weal. – Chris Bateman
By Ed Herbst*
AfriForum will seek legal advice to support a community in Nkandla who have been waiting in vain for a school to be built for their children. This comes after the civil rights organization had been approached by desperate parents, seeking help. Since the start of the school year their children have not had access to education, even though they had been assured that a school would be ready at the beginning of the year. – AfriForum 19/2/2017
AfriForum trades in fear and ethnic mobilisation. It only serves the interests of Afrikaans Christians.
It has demonstrated repeatedly that intolerance, ethnic chauvinism, intimidation, crude propaganda, confrontation and provocation are part of its strategic arsenal.
In the eyes of most South Africans, they are hard-core racists and this has done much damage to the popular perception of Afrikaners, because they parade as the true face of Afrikaners. – Max du Preez News 24 26/7/2017
The constant attacks by Max du Preez on AfriForum took me back to an attack on the Democratic Alliance by Jared Sacks just before the May 2014 general election.
More than 700 00 black people voted for the DA in that election and among their number were members of Abahlali baseMjondolo, (ABM) the shack dwellers, the poorest of the poor.
Just before that election the ABM asked the various political parties to address them so that they could decide which party would best represent their needs.
They chose to endorse the Democratic Alliance because, as they recently testified before the Moerane Commission, they have for years suffered murder, assault, intimidation and every form of discrimination at the hands of the innately-corrupt African National Congress.
Here is how Sibusiso Tshabalala, an ABM leader rationalised this decision in an interview with the Groundup website:
The difference though [between the DA and the ANC] is that the DA engages with us courteously. They recognize that we are human beings. In Durban, the ANC has been unable to engage with Abahlali meaningfully. Violence and arrogance characterize the attitude of the ANC to the poor.
If you meet a DA councillor working in the eThekwini council, he/she will not ask you for a membership card.
Jared Sacks, from his white perspective, took umbrage at this.
I believe that this is a hugely mistaken move for the most important post-1994 social movement – both from an acknowledgement that the DA is a right-wing, white supremacist political party, and also from an understanding that electoral politics undermines, destroys, and co-opts rather than helps social movements. Despite my love for Abahlali, it is very difficult for me to continue to support an organisation that votes for the DA – a party founded on white supremacy.
Max du Preez effectively makes the same ‘white supremacy’ claim about Afriforum and Solidarity.
Let me point to what I believe was a seismic moment in Western Cape politics to provide some perspective on this and in particular to assess his claim that… in the eyes of most South Africans they are hardcore racists.
The majority of gaol inmates in the Western Cape are Afrikaans speaking Coloured people and the prison warders who are best able to communicate with them are Coloured, Afrikaans-speaking employees of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). Despite this, these prison warders were denied promotion on the basis of ‘demographic representivity’ a cornerstone of the glorious National Democratic Revolution’s ‘transformation’ agenda but a system dreamed up by the Nazis to restrict the intake of Jewish students to Third Reich universities to the proportion of Jews in the total German population – 1.5 %. Merit clearly plays no role in this ‘transformation’ agenda.
In February 2011, Jimmy Manyi pointed out to these prison warders the reality of their professional aspirations from an ANC perspective when he stated that if Coloureds in the Western Cape did not want to find themselves unemployed, they should move to other provinces.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU, a Cosatu affiliate) supported Manyi’s contention about ethnic quotas. The Western Cape provincial secretary of POPCRU, Mncedisi Mbolekwa agreed with Manyi saying: ‘More coloured people are needed in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, for example. We must get them to go there.’
The Coloured DCS prison warders have also seen Tony Ehrenreich promising to impoverish white civil servants should the voters give the ANC another chance to loot municipal and provincial coffers as they did between 2003 and 2006. Furthermore, they have seen President Jacob Zuma trying to ratchet up racial hatred by invoking the Rwandan genocide when he equated white South Africans with snakes and constantly invoking the Bell Pottinger message of ‘White Monopoly Capital’ which was specifically designed and implemented to widen racial divisions in this country.
Not dark enough
So did these people – too dark under apartheid, not dark enough under the ANC – turn to Max du Preez in their time of ethnic travail?
No. After being contemptuously rebuffed by their own trade union, POPCRU – which described Solidarity’s efforts on their behalf as a ‘racist political ploy’ – they turned to the group that Du Preez similarly labels as practitioners of ‘intolerance, ethnic chauvinism, intimidation, crude propaganda, confrontation and provocation’.
POPCRU joined the Department of Correctional Services as amicus curiae and R2.5 million – your money and mine – was spent by the DCS to support the POPCRU stance and to prevent their coloured employees from being promoted on merit choosing, instead, race as the criterion – something we became familiar with during the apartheid era.
With the assistance of the FW de Klerk Foundation, however, Solidarity took the case of the Western Cape prison warders who were denied promotion because of their ethnic origins all the way to the Constitutional Court – and won.
Where would these prison warders have been if they had shared the opinion of POPCRU that Solidarity is racist and of Max du Preez that AfriForum/Solidarity ‘trades in fear and ethnic mobilisation’ that they are characterised and by ‘intolerance, ethnic chauvinism, intimidation, crude propaganda, confrontation and provocation’.
Coloured people comprise 51% of the Western Cape population and it is their vote that has seen the Democratic Alliance steadily increase its political control of the province. I believe that the DCS/POPCRU discrimination against the Coloured prison warders on ethnic grounds has played a significant role in the steady decline of the ANC in the Western Cape.
How true, then, is the contention by du Preez that:
In the eyes of most South Africans, they are hard-core racists and this has done much damage to the popular perception of Afrikaners, because they parade as the true face of Afrikaners.
In this regard I would like to refer you to a supplement which appeared in the Naspers newspapers on 17 September 2016.
The translated headline was – Welcome to Elliot – the town where everyone works together.
The essence of the article over two pages is that Afriforum and local taxi drivers are patrolling together at night to increase the safety of all residents.
The translated opening sentence reads:
While people like Max du Preez and Kallie Kriel attack one another on news websites and in newspapers about AfriForum – what it does and what it represents – it looks like the residents of Elliot in the Eastern Cape are innocently unaware of the verbal dispute. Here, everyone works together, Greeks, Chinese, Indians, white and black – everyone wants to make Elliot a better town and everyone is an AfriForum member.
People of all ethnic groups working together with Max du Preez’s practitioners of ‘intolerance, ethnic chauvinism, intimidation, crude propaganda, confrontation and provocation’ in a joint effort to enhance the safety of all their lives?
Bridging ethnic barriers and working together for the common good – the Nelson Mandela formula – AfriForum members on night patrol in Elliot.
The very people that, according to du Preez, most South Africans regard as ‘hard-core racists’ – a matter where he finds consensus with POPCRU?
The very ‘hard-core racists’ that an Nkandla community turned to in desperation when their children had no school and the ANC had ignored their plight?
But wait, there’s more!
In late 2015 Standerton was bedevilled by more than a hundred potholes in Beyers Naude Street, the main thoroughfare through the town, while a broken pipe had discharged raw sewage into the local river for months and taps no longer supplied water. This, in yet another ANC–bankrupted and mismanaged municipality.
So who stepped in to sort out this corruption, incompetence and indolence-defined ANC mess on behalf of all the residents in the town?
The very people who Max du Preez says most South Africans regard as ‘hard-core racists’.
But wait, there’s more!
So who took their plight to the United Nations?
Not Max du Preez but AfriForum and Solidarity.
The ANC’s Enoch ‘Canyon Springs’ Godongwana has called for the imposition of ‘Verwoerdian Quotas’ which, as I pointed out earlier, is derived from the Nazi formula of ‘demographic representivity’ which was used to restrict the number of Jews gaining entrance to Third Reich universities.
The United Nations has said this is simply apartheid in reverse.
So who raised this matter in that forum?
Well, it wasn’t Max du Preez, that’s for sure – it was Solidarity.
One of the cornerstones of the ANC’s Tsunami of Sleaze is its de facto policy that no deployed parasite goes to jail unless, like Cynthia Maropeng, they steal not from the fiscus but from the ANC itself.
Well, count among that group AfriForum, the organisation that has employed Gerrie Nel, persuading him, according to Adriaan Basson, to make the ‘mistake of his life.’
And whose efforts overturned the ethnically exclusionary policy of SAA?
Solidarity again – and again the silence of Max du Preez and Adriaan Basson was deafening.
In my article on the role that the ANC’s illegally-deployed cadres have played in Eskom’s rolling blackouts I recounted how, on the watch of Joseph Maroga, the parastatal fraudulently recruited black Americans so as to restrict the number of people from local minority ethnic groups being employed.
This had a devastating impact on their lives – as a subsequent Carte Blanche exposé revealed.
Well it is not Max du Preez or Adriaan Basson that’s for sure – it is Solidarity.
As Sara Gon pointed out in a Politicsweb article, the SA Human Rights Commission shows brazen and blatant ethnic bias against white South Africans and she cites the difference in treatment meted out to Penny Sparrow and Bongani Masuku, International Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).
Sparrow was savagely persecuted and swiftly prosecuted, a very different scenario to what Masuku experienced.
Sparrow lost her livelihood, her house, and had to go into hiding. She was soon penniless.
The first case (Masuku) was resolved eight years after it was initiated and punishment was a public apology.
The second case was completed in less than nine months with punishment of fines of R 150 000 and R 5 000 or twelve months imprisonment, two years imprisonment suspended conditionally for five years, and obliged to make two public apologies.
The SA Human Rights Commission is a bloated ANC grace-and-favour sinecure whose lack of impartiality is shocking.
Ask the Nkandla residents who turned to AfriForum when their appeals for a school fell on deaf ANC ears – they’ll tell you.
I am not a member of AfriForum or Solidarity and although I dearly love my second language, Afrikaans and revel in using it, my home language is English. Furthermore, my articles are submitted to Biznews and other media-related websites for free – so I have no skin in this game.
My admiration for the role that Max du Preez has played in South African journalism is boundless and his legacy, like that of Allister Sparks, will endure.
If, however, AfriForum and Solidarity are appalling forces for evil that are, furthermore, dragging the Afrikaner name through the mud as Du Preez and others suggest, then my must-ask question was defined by Chico Marx: ‘Who do you believe, him or your eyes?’
And if they are that evil why do our courts and the United Nations keep agreeing with them?
In the end though, I am sure that the Coloured employees of DCS, the people of Elliot, Nkandla and Standerton and our farmers are as indifferent to the huffing and puffing of Max du Preez, Adriaan Basson and POPCRU as the members of Abahlali baseMjondolo are about the indignation of Jared Sacks.
Chaos and confusion
After two decades of the ANC focusing manically on snouting rather than governing, South Africa – as RW Johnson correctly predicted – is collapsing into chaos and confusion. At the weekend Carte Blanche revealed the sordid details of the massive Redisa scam in which Enoch (Verwoerdian quotas) Godongwana is implicated and that the Gauteng Health Department – which has a bigger budget than the Cape Town municipality – is not dysfunctional, it is non-functional as Jack Bloom has been pointing out for years.
As ANC delegates in the Eastern Cape beat one another up we learned that the Beloved Country, as part of the ANC’s ‘good story to tell’ had slid 14 places in in the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness index.
As the ANC, plunged into murderous turmoil by its own indolence, ineptitude and congenital venality turns with increasing desperation to the courts to resolve its internal crises, our position is best defined by our civil engineers:
The South African Institute of Civil Engineers (SAICE) has found that, with a few notable exceptions, every segment of the work of the state is bedevilled by poor planning, a lack of skill and capacity, corruption, neglect and poor maintenance.
Under such circumstances – as the people of Standerton found – organisations like AfriForum and Solidarity play a defining role in keeping the country slightly functional.
- Ed Herbst is a retired veteran journalist who writes in his own capacity.