By Pinky Khoabane
Afriforum’s CEO Kallie Kriel
ANYBODY who has watched the South African press over the years and its choice of language and descriptions should ask the question why the white nationalist group, Afriforum, is described as a civil rights organisation. At times it is described as a lobby group.
Over the years I have questioned how men and women who have fought and died for social justice and equality are equated to a group such as Afriforum, whose sole existence is to maintain white dominance and supremacy.
In recent months, this group has successfully managed to whip-up emotions across the world on the basis that there’s white genocide against farmers in this country. As part of its long-raging concocted lie about white farmers, it teamed up with right-wing writer Katie Hopkins when she visited South Africa on a purported investigation into the “slaughter” of white farmers. By the time Parliament decided to explore the possibility of changing the Constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation, Hopkins had tweeted non-stop about the brutality to which farmers are subjected, and the world had listened. Australian Home Affairs Peter Dutton, for example, has offered to save South Africa’s white farmers from their “horrific circumstances” of land seizure. He has offerd to fast-track their visas to his homeland. Afrirofum has publicly announced it would undertake an international campaign against the ANC policy of land expropriation without compensation if it didnt back down. I’ve written here before on the skewed perception that white farmers are victims of some campaign when in actual fact, they kill their workers for a range of minuscule reasons; looking like monkeys, stealing one thing or another, etc. The 2016/17 financial year police statistics show that 74 people died on farms and they weren’t all white. Compare that with the 19,016 people murdered in the country the same year.
Ultra-right-wing groups have now jumped on this campaign and are undergoing military training for what is set to be a race war. But it is the so-called lobby group, Afriforum, which started the ball rolling.
So you might ask yourself why Afriforum is handled with kids gloves by our media. The answer lies in the history and role of South Africa’s media and it’s role in protecting and perpetuating racism and apartheid.
TRC Media Hearing
A FACTUAL dissection by the Truth And Reconciliation Commission (TRC) into the role of the media during apartheid established that there was clear collusion between the Afrikaans media and the apartheid government. It found the Afrikaans media openly provided support for the government and the activities of the security forces by not honestly reporting the human rights violations and being indifferent to the suffering of black people. The TRC report however, shattered the myth that only the Afrikaans press supported the apartheid government.
The TRC found that the English-speaking press often adopted an appeasement towards the state and to a large extent adopted the policy of self-censorship. The report revealed the hypocrisy of the English-speaking press which decried apartheid but practiced it against its own staff. Allegations of former eNCA journalist Karyn Maughan who has recently joined Tiso Black Star at an alleged R100 000 per month while Black staffers, who have been at the group for years, only get R20 000 is a case in point. But there are many such stories of discrimination of Blacks in many South African newsrooms.
The Commission also established that the National Press Union had agreements with the apartheid-era military and police institutions leading to collusion between the state and the press. The media managers argued that they had to abide or lose their newspapers but the conclusion of these arrangements imposed restrictions on the work of journalists and were of such a nature that the press reported only news given to them by government officials.
Such was the intensity of the collusion between state and media that senior members of the SABC sat on the State Security Council and a list of 31 media workers who were informers was submitted to the TRC. Naspers donated money to the National Party in the 1980s and letters of appreciation from then Naspers Chairman Ton Vosloo to former presidents PW Botha and FW de Klerk were recently published in Hennie van Vuuren’s book, Apartheid Guns and Money.