It’s crim­i­nal for Kal­lie Kriel to claim apartheid was not a crime against hu­man­ity

Mole­batsi Masedi is a Polok­wane, Lim­popo based pro­po­nent of rad­i­cal so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion. Tweeter: @Mole­bat­siMasedi

African Times - - Perspectives -

That apartheid was a crime against hu­man­ity is be­yond doubt, the con­trary view of the AfriFo­rum CEO Kalie Kriel not­with­stand­ing. As far back as 1976, the United Na­tions Or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­nounced apartheid as a crime against hu­man­ity. The civilised world had lost pa­tience with the apartheid regime and its vi­cious reign of ter­ror against black peo­ple.

Dur­ing apartheid, land theft hap­pened on a grand scale. Blacks were re­moved from their arable and fer­tile lands, and dumped where nei­ther live­stock and plants nor peo­ple could live and thrive. At the end of this land grab­bing by the apartheid regime, black peo­ple were driven to home­lands which had be­come labour re­serves for mines and com­mer­cial white farms.

To com­pound the prob­lems of black peo­ple who had been forced into ab­ject poverty, the apartheid gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced all forms of re­stric­tive and dis­crim­i­na­tory mea­sures to con­tain na­tive rest­less­ness, move­ment and ac­cess to white set­tle­ments.

Good things like ed­u­ca­tion, health and jobs were the pre­serve of white peo­ple. Black peo­ple lived off the crumbs from the white mas­ter’s ta­ble. The ed­u­ca­tion of the black child was not meant to open an abun­dance of op­por­tu­ni­ties. What came to be known as Bantu ed­u­ca­tion was meant to re­duce black peo­ple into what apartheid ar­chi­tect Hen­drik Ver­wo­erd called “hew­ers of wood and draw­ers of wa­ter.”

As re­vealed dur­ing the Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion sit­tings a lot of evil was in­flicted on black peo­ple in the name of law and or­der. Peo­ple were de­tained, tor­tured and even killed with im­punity. There was no jus­tice for the op­pressed and ex­ploited that were pre­dom­i­nantly black.

The slaugh­ter of the in­no­cent by the apartheid regime went on for years un­til the dawn of free­dom and democ­racy which saw the ANC un­der Nel­son Man­dela as­sume the reigns of gov­er­nance af­ter the first ever demo­cratic elec­tions. It was at this time that Arch­bishop Des­mond Tutu pro­nounced the peo­ple of South Africa as the Rain­bow Na­tion of God.

Tran­si­tion from apartheid to free­dom and democ­racy was com­pared to a mir­a­cle. No blood was shed and the econ­omy re­mained in­tact, though for the ben­e­fit of a small sec­tion of so­ci­ety. The whole process was peace­ful. Many in the world had ex­pected the coun­try to go up in smoke be­fore free­dom could be at­tained. South Africa would rise from the ashes of pro­tracted con­flict dur­ing which lives would be lost and the econ­omy de­stroyed.

Man­dela’s term of of­fice was premised on peace rec­on­cil­i­a­tion be­tween black and white peo­ples. In 1995, he even dropped in for tea and koek­sis­ters at the home of, Bet­sie Ver­wo­erd, the widow of apartheid ar­chi­tect in the sep­a­ratist town of Ora­nia where there are no blacks.

The last apartheid pres­i­dent, F.W De Klerk and his lieu­tenants were ac­com­mo­dated in the gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity. To­day De Klerk con­tin­ues to walk freely in the coun­try, en­joy­ing his hefty pen­sion money. He is free from want, like many of the his­tor­i­cally ad­van­taged.

What hap­pened post-apartheid was that white peo­ple re­tained their ill-got­ten wealth and stolen land. The lives of black peo­ple of poverty, in­equal­ity and un­em­ploy­ment re­main un­dented. The will­ing seller and will­ing buyer land resti­tu­tion pro­gramme has done noth­ing to re­store the dig­nity and iden­tity of black peo­ple. With­out their land, black peo­ple re­main beg­gars and va­grants in their coun­try. The white mi­nor­ity con­tinue to coin it from the econ­omy they are still in charge of.

The ANC dur­ing its twen­ty­four years in gov­ern­ment has done noth­ing to im­ple­ment its agenda of Rad­i­cal Eco­nomic Trans­for­ma­tion. What the party has achieved af­ter the fall of the apartheid regime was mouth rad­i­cal slo­gans with no ac­com­pa­ny­ing ac­tion.

Empty slo­gans have never lib­er­ated a coun­try or de­liv­ered on Rad­i­cal Eco­nomic Trans­for­ma­tion.

Peo­ple have looked hope­lessly at the gov­ern­ment mo­men­tous fail­ure to re­verse the set­backs of years of in­sti­tu­tion­alised marginal­i­sa­tion of black peo­ple. They have watched help­lessly the de­fer­ment of the dream of a bet­ter life for all.

De­trac­tors of free­dom and its at­ten­dant rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion agenda have found the courage to speak and act against at­tempts to open the econ­omy for all South Africans, black or white.

It is against this open re­bel­lion against free­dom and democ­racy that you have an ex­clu­sively white homestead like Ora­nia where black peo­ple are not al­lowed. It bog­gles the mind why the own­ers of that part of the coun­try haven’t claimed ev­ery square kilo­me­tre of Ora­nia and took it over. As things stand, Ora­nia is a coun­try within a coun­try which has re­versed the clock and re­in­stated apartheid.

One other apartheid Trojan horse is the DA, the party of white monopoly cap­i­tal that wants white peo­ple to main­tain their po­si­tions. Black peo­ple who have passed their sell-by date like Lindiwe Maz­ibuko and to­day Pa­tri­cia De Lille are spat out at the slight­est provo­ca­tion. An­a­lysts even pre­dict that the last white hope, Mmusi Maimane is liv­ing on bor­rowed time.

Ear­lier in the week Maimane ex­pressed ou­trage at the treat­ment of for­mer spring­bok rugby player, Ashwin Willemse, de­scrib­ing it as an ex­pe­ri­ence of too many South Africans. He called on the coun­try to build an equal so­ci­ety, “where we con­fine to his­tory a sys­tem of racial su­pe­ri­or­ity and in­fe­ri­or­ity. We must con­tinue to pur­sue a di­verse SA, how­ever dif­fi­cult it is.”

Pro­found and coura­geous state­ments from Maimane, only if he meant them, but then he doesn’t. It is just empty rhetoric to ap­pease those who re­main abused by the abun­dantly preva­lent apartheid ten­den­cies like those vis­ited on Willemse.

Kriel’s apartheid de­nial­ism is not shock­ing, new or iso­lated. There are still many with apartheid hang-ups who saw noth­ing wrong with apartheid atroc­i­ties. For them apartheid ter­ror was all in the day’s work. Some even say that apartheid was good for black peo­ple than the free­dom and democ­racy they have to­day.

For as long we have the likes of Kriel roam­ing our streets, free­dom and democ­racy will ring hol­low as it has no con­tent to fill it and calm its rat­tling noise.

For as long as black peo­ple don’t have ac­cess to and own­er­ship of land and other sec­tors of the econ­omy, peo­ple such as Kriel will spit at them. He is the mon­ster the ne­go­ti­ated po­lit­i­cal set­tle­ment com­pro­mises cre­ated. Only rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion can re­store the iden­tity and dig­nity of black peo­ple.

As for Kriel, one com­men­ta­tor over the week­end said, to say that apartheid was not a crime against hu­man­ity is it­self a crime. Those held li­able for the ex­ter­mi­na­tion of Jews dur­ing the Sec­ond World War faced the mu­sic dur­ing Nurem­berg tri­als and be­yond. In fact the Nazis are still hunted to this day and no­body makes light of the holo­caust.

The holo­caust is a crime against hu­man­ity and those who prac­ticed it have been sub­jected to ret­ri­bu­tion. Apartheid was de­clared a crime against hu­man­ity, but no one, not De Klerk and oth­ers who presided over its atroc­i­ties have been pros­e­cuted. They walk around free, hence Kriel spit­ting at vic­tims of apartheid and their trau­ma­tised fam­i­lies.

Un­less the land and other sec­tors of the econ­omy are re­stored to the own­ers, black peo­ple will con­tinue to bear the brunt of in­sults. and be­lit­tling of their suf­fer­ing by Kriel and his many fel­low trav­ellers.

Not yet Uhuru.

AfriFo­rum CEO Kalie Kriel

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.