It’s not black vs white

2011-05-14 13:15

Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya’s article We are all victims of farm attacks (City Press, May 8 2011), is the most recent of a couple of articles in City Press which attempts to distort AfriForum’s actions to protect constitutional rights, as nothing but a race-driven fight.

Julius Malema and some of the commentators in City Press would have the world believe that AfriForum’s hate-speech court case against Malema is a racial fight of white people attempting to dismiss black people’s history.

However, the calls of support I received the past few weeks from black and white South Africans alike show that many people from all communities are politically too mature to be fooled by Malema’s propaganda.

It is evident from the calls I received that moderates from all communities realise this is instead a conflict with Malema and his radical supporters who want to cause polarisation on one side, and those who believe we should promote mutual respect for the sake of our country and its people, on the other side.

The calls of support are obviously not a scientific opinion poll, and that is why I was even more encouraged when I came across the result of a scientific poll by TNS Surveys.

According to this survey, only 18% of all South Africans believe that Malema is not guilty of hate speech.

The overall majority of all race groups believe, according to the poll, that Malema is indeed guilty of hate speech.

This result confirms my experience that people in this country – black and white – want to live peacefully with each other, despite Malema’s attempts to promote polarisation.

Some commentators in City Press ­alleged the court case provided Malema with a platform to garner a lot of support among blacks.

It is a slap in the face for black South Africans to believe they ­enjoyed seeing Malema with heavily armed bodyguards, hearing that supporters of Malema urinated on a legal representative and listening to racial chants.

Outside the court, ordinary residents of Johannesburg did not join the Malema supporters. Out of curiosity, they merely watched what was going for some minutes and then moved along.

It was only the ‘rent-a-crowd’ bused in from Limpopo to Johannesburg who seemed interested.

I am convinced Malema realises the moderate majority seriously disagrees with his actions.

That is why Malema conducted an intimidation campaign outside the court, to sow fear among the moderate majority.

By sowing fear, they are ­determined to make the moderates think twice before they dare to oppose ­Malema’s reckless agenda of polarisation.

If moderates yield to this intimidation strategy, and are silenced, it will create the ideal circumstances for Malema’s ­radical minority to continue to dictate the public agenda.

The moderates cannot ­allow this and that is why I am convinced AfriForum is doing the right thing by ­calling Malema to account.

Moderate South Africans now need to stand firm against Malema’s polarising ­actions.

If not, Malema will succeed in ­reawakening the conflict of the past.

This is in no one’s interest.

» ?Kriel is the CEO of AfriForum

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