BLF, 100 so­cial me­dia users face charges

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - TOBY NGO­MANE

“I’M NOT sur­prised AfriFo­rum came out and tried to vil­ify and at­tack black peo­ple with these stupid charges against us.”

This was the re­sponse from Lind­say Maas­dorp, the na­tional spokesper­son of Black First Land First (BLF), one of the 100 so­cial me­dia users who the civil rights or­gan­i­sa­tion ac­cused and charged with racism, hate speech and the in­cite­ment of vi­o­lence.

AfriFo­rum also as­serted that black peo­ple have no power to be racist.

“… 97% of the econ­omy be­longs in white hands, they for­get that more than 80% of the land be­longs in white hands, there­fore black peo­ple have no sys­tem­atic power to be racist,” said Maas­dorp yes­ter­day.

“AfriFo­rum as an or­gan­i­sa­tion has a duty within the set­tler colo­nial state as a com­po­nent of that to con­tinue mak­ing us run around in cir­cles through the courts.”

The civil rights or­gan­i­sa­tion last week ap­proached Lyt­tel­ton po­lice sta­tion in Cen­tu­rion to lay the charges against the 100 so­cial me­dia users.

The ac­cu­sa­tions caused con­tro­versy as many failed to un­der­stand the rel­e­vance. This in­cluded mu­si­cian and ac­tivist Nt­siki Mazwai, who was left en­raged that only black peo­ple had been listed by AfriFo­rum.

“It worries me that there are no white peo­ple on that list, it looks like a witch­hunt for black peo­ple,” she said.

But AfriFo­rum’s deputy chief ex­ec­u­tive Ernst Roets re­jected the as­ser­tions.

“I think those are ridicu­lous ac­cu­sa­tions, these peo­ple are com­mit­ting se­ri­ous crimes,” Roets said.

He said AfriFo­rum were tak­ing the mat­ter so se­ri­ously that they were in con­sul­ta­tion with the Hawks and the Cyber Crimes Unit. He added that those ac­cused wouldn’t es­cape judg­ment, even if they de­ac­ti­vated their so­cial me­dia ac­counts.

He told The Star that the names were re­leased to shame the 100. “We want to name and shame these peo­ple.”

Roets said his or­gan­i­sa­tion was plan­ning to file more charges as more com­plaints of racism, hate speech and in­cite­ment of vi­o­lence streamed in.

“We will charge more peo­ple be­cause we have many more com­plaints, we have be­tween 500 and 1 000 com­plaints. We hope that peo­ple will be held ac­count­able, there is no ex­cuse for this.”

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