Torch all white-owned farms? Well, says labour movement Solidarity, if this is what you suggest, we are taking you to the South African Human Rights Commission and charge you will criminal prosecution.
This decisive action comes after a call by Lindsay Maasdorp of the Black First Land First group who said that “if famers felt blessed by God when it rained on their fields, then oppressed black people could feel blessed if white-owned farms (are) burnt down”.
On Facebook Maasdorp write: “Black god needs servants in CT: wind + matches + white owned farms.” On a previous occasion, on his Facebook page, he had asked the question: “When will we kill them?”
In its complaint Solidarity petitions that those statements be investigated with a view to handing down a finding; that Maasdorp be ordered to apologise in public; and that the matter, be referred to the National Director of Public Prosecution recommending possible criminal prosecution.
Solidarity Chief Executive, Dr Dirk Hermann, says “we are astounded that steps have not yet been taken against Maasdorp. The Western Cape is ablaze and those who are instigating the burning of farms are sitting cosily at home. Utterances such as those inflame a climate in which the burning down of farms is being justified. This was not merely an incitation to violence; a hate speech element is also evident. The call was specifically to raze the farms of white people, creating in its wake a climate that justifies violence on white people”.
The fact that Maasdorp’s statements – among them the question: “When can we start killing white people?” – are not denounced on the front page of every newspaper indicts politicians, opinion formers and the media of selective racism. South Africa is far too patient with crude black racism that has an overtone of violence. It should be rejected by white and black alike. Double racial standards do not belong in a democracy that rejects racism.
Hermann says his complaint is “putting the South African Human Rights Commission’s commitment to fight all forms of racism to the test. If racism has an overtone of hate violence to boot, it should not only be rejected but it should also be subjected to prosecution”.