AfriForum's Kallie Kriel: I don't think apartheid was a crime against humanity
I don't think that apartheid was a crime against humanity, but I think it was wrong.Afriforum CEO Kallie Kriel
These are sentiments expressed by AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel who was involved in a debate on The Eusebius McKaiser Show following the Afrikaans rights lobby group visit overseas last week to fight land expropriation without compensation - or what it calls the 'racist theft', as well as farm murders.
Guests including Kriel, Wits Vice Chancellor Adam Habib and asssociate law professor at the North West University Elmien Du Plessis weigh in on AfriForum.
Kriel said AfriForum has two main goals. He says firstly, it is not ashamed of the fact that it takes on issues that are of importance to minority communities.
That is our right, and it is important that everybody has a voice, and there should be organisations such as ours.Kallie Kriel, CEO AfriForum
Secondly, he says, AfriForum also promote the interest of the broader community.
There are numerous examples of that. We are now acting on behalf of a rural black community with regards to mines that abuse their property. We are taking on the KwaZulu-Natal Educational Department on behalf of children in Nkandla.
The problem is, unfortunately, when your opponents don't have answers for your arguments, the easiest way to discredit you is to try and create some kind of stereotype.Kallie Kriel, CEO AfriForum
He adds that people of leftist orientation, do not care to protect property rights, don't care for the lives of farmers. If these people start attacking AfriForum viciously, then it shows the organisation is on the right track, he adds.
Du Plessis says protecting constitutional rights is a noble cause and that is important. He adds, however, it is a bit simplistic to say leftist people necessarily don't want to have private property.
Du Plessis has criticised AfriForum's use of farm murder statistics vehemently in recent weeks saying they are being misused and the term 'genocide' of whites is a myth.
She says the Constitutional Court highlighted a key issue in the Tshwane v AfriForum case that dealt with street names. The minority judgment ruled in its favour, but the majority judgment was quite damning, she adds.
The minority judgement said they disagree profoundly with AfriForum's view of history and we think that Judge Fronoman and Judge Cameron, it would be better for white Afrikaans people and indeed everyone else to find sense of place and belonging not only in the past but also in the shared future, one the Constitution nourishes and guards for all of us to gather united in our diversity.Elmien Du Plessis, Associate professor in Law at the North West University
She said she agrees with a paragraph of the judgment in that everyone has the right to look after your interests and the things that are dear to you.
But my problem comes in that it is done often in a isolationist way in a exclusionary way, in a way that does not really benefit we the South Africans the 55 million South Africans and that is my criticism of the way they do things.Elmien Du Plessis, Associate professor in Law at the North West University
Habib said he totally agreed with what Du Plessis was saying.
He says firstly, you want to articulate the case of the particular set of individuals, 'but you see that as exceptional, as outside of the broader cosmopolitan future that the Constitution advocates'.
What is interesting about the way you do it, is you actually manufacture history, you skew data and you come to a conclusion that is slightly distinctive to what a normal person would come through the effective look at the evidence.Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor Wits University
In the process, he says, one can articulate what is a very ethnic or very racist agenda.
If you want to look at an example of this, just look at my Twitter line and see the responses of AfriForum supporters and how they have responded. They say things like 'you must go back to Pakistan, there has been the most scariest racist remarks.Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor Wits University
And Kallie has been quiet. When you remain silent and you allow people to articulate what they do, in your name without ever once saying guys, 'not in my name, you don't speak like that'.Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor Wits University
He expresses his biggest concern being how AfriForum has travelled overseas and met with right-wing politicians.
You meet with one of the most right-wing politicians, who is in my view a fascist, you take a picture of him, put it on Twitter and say I gave him my book and its really good stuff. In a sense what you do, you identifying with the worst parts of humanity. And fascists destroy the world. He might as well have gone to the KKK, take a photograph with them and said check me out.Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor Wits University
During the debate, people on Twitter were also weighing in on the conversation.
@Eusebius Afriforum is a racist organisation that is hellbent on preserving minority white privilege. The reason they feel like juju is a racist is because for former oppressors who are used to privilege, restorative justice feels like oppression to them. Eg Land and race issues— Lerato (@lerrykins_) May 14, 2018
Listen below to the full interview: