FW de Klerk Foundation concerned over Lamola's "war" talk
FW de Klerk Foundation
22 June 2012
ANCYL DP's outburst could be construed as demonstrating a clear intention to incite harm
RONALD LAMOLA'S CALL FOR AN ACT AS FORCEFUL AS WAR
The FW de Klerk Foundation is deeply concerned over comments made by ANC Youth League deputy-president Ronald Lamola in Durban on 19 June, during a lecture at the Durban University of Technology. Lamola called for the expropriation of land without compensation. He said youth unemployment could not be dealt with unless land was expropriated. Lamola also stated that, "it is an illusion if South Africans believe they can get their land back peacefully" and "we need an act as forceful as war to bring it back to the Africans".
Our Constitution requires us to "heal the divisions of the past and to establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights." Section 16 states that the right to freedom of expression does not extend to (a) propaganda for war; (b) incitement of imminent violence; or (c) advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm."
According to section 10 (1) of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, "no person may publish, propagate, advocate or communicate words based on one or more of the prohibited grounds, against any person that could reasonably be construed to demonstrate a clear intention to (a) be hurtful; (b) be harmful or to incite harm; or (c) promote or propagate hatred."
Mr Lamola's outburst could well be construed as demonstrating a clear intention to be harmful or to incite harm, and might also be viewed as propaganda for war. But would it help if further charges were laid against Lamola in the courts, or the Human Rights Commission?
The problem is not, in the first place, the incendiary language used by an uninformed youth leader to a scraggly audience of only 150 comrades. It is that the ANC has done nothing at all to call Lamola to order, or to require that he should behave in a responsible and constitutional manner. On the contrary, its inaction and some of its actions and statements appear to condone the racially provocative and divisive views of Lamola and his predecessor, Julius Malema.
On 6 May 2011, President Zuma sat silently on the same platform in Galishewe while Julius Malema stated that white farmers were thieves. "Once we agree that they stole our land, we can agree they are criminals and must be treated as such." His statement later formed the basis of one of the charges that the ANC leadership brought against Malema which, disturbingly, was later dropped.
Similar racially charged sentiments are expressed in the government's Green Paper on Land Reform, which asserts that "all anti-colonial struggles are, at the core, about two things: repossession of land lost through force or deceit; and, restoring the centrality of indigenous culture." After castigating colonialism and apartheid for "the systematic denudation and impoverishment of African people..." it darkly warns that the goodwill and capacity for forgiveness of black South Africans "should not be taken for granted, because it is not an inexhaustible social asset".
Despite the findings of the courts and the Human Rights Commission, the ANC continues to support the "Shoot the Boer" song and will be joining the case in the Supreme Court of Appeal in its defence. This support, in the face of the mounting number of farm murders, is incomprehensible.
We cannot afford this kind of gratuitous racial provocation in our national debate. Nor can we dismiss it as empty rhetoric. The fact is that everything that Lamola and Malema have said is consistent with both the content of the Green Paper and the National Democratic Revolution's call for the "elimination of apartheid property relations" including "the deracialisation of ownership and control of wealth, including land."
In multicultural societies such as our own there is always the threat that rhetoric might be translated into reality. In an angry response on 20 June, Transvaal Agricultural Union's Deputy President, Henry Geldenhuys, ascribed the murder that day of Johan van Rensburg, a 77-year-old farmer, to Lamola's bellicose rhetoric. He said that it seemed as though farmers had "no other choice than to prepare themselves for war."
It is of the greatest importance that the ANC government should now intervene and calm the passions and fears on all sides by making it clear that talk of war or ‘acts as forceful as war' is unacceptable. It should also stop supporting the singing of clearly inflammatory and hurtful songs like "Shoot the Boer". On 16 February President Zuma said that "the land question is one of the most emotive issues in our history and present, and must be handled with utmost care..." We couldn't agree more, and would like to see the government take the lead in ensuring that all parties show the necessary care and sensitivity in the manner in which they deal with this most emotive issue.
Issued by the FW de Klerk Foundation, June 22 2012