Guest Column

Don't equate arsonists with the fire brigade

2018-09-18 12:12
EFF members outside Parliament (Jacaranda Newstream, via Twitter)

EFF members outside Parliament (Jacaranda Newstream, via Twitter)

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Flip Buys

Melanie Verwoerd writes that it is not the ANC and the EFF that are taking South Africa to the edge of the abyss, but AfriForum. She reassures us by saying that Mr Ramaphosa repeatedly states that expropriation without compensation would be dealt with in a "sensitive" way. 

Let's be frank: Mentioning AfriForum and the EFF in the same breath is like equating the fire fighters to the arsonists. Expropriation without compensation is a radical policy and one that has proven itself to be disastrous, no matter how "sensitively" it may well have been implemented. 

The world will rightly view – and treat – governments that espouse expropriation without compensation as radical. Even if the Constitution is amended to "legalise" it, it will not make it "right". Commentators like Verwoerd may well attempt to put "sensitive" expropriation without compensation and the ANC at the "centre" of the spectrum, and AfriForum on the periphery. The rest of the civilised world puts organisations that stand for property rights, the rule of law, a market economy and democratic land reform in the centre of the political spectrum. 

Even if somebody gets "free" land "sensitively", it will not automatically be a farm. The fact that the investment world is insensitive to sensitive expropriation can already be seen in red economic numbers and the growing millions of unemployed people. 

Damage by the trillion

Political columns cannot put straight what economic numbers are screaming out, namely that government has not done nearly enough to put out the economic fires. Also bear in mind that Mr Jacob Zuma with all his talents could not ruin the country all by himself. For that he needed the political support of the current ANC. Rome was not destroyed by one person only. 

According to prominent economists such as Standard Bank's Goolam Ballim, Zuma cost the country R1trn and a million jobs. To put it mildly – this is not the time to introduce radical policies such as expropriation without compensation, national health insurance, free education and minimum wages. 

If the commentators have the interests of the country and its millions of poor at heart, then they would confront the expropriation without compensation inciters and stop screaming at the AfriForum Fire Brigade because the alarm they are sounding is too shrill at times. 

Fire fighters

To accuse Ernst Roets of being undiplomatic and confrontational in his presentation on expropriation without compensation to Parliament is one thing, but to downplay the ANC's radical expropriation without compensation at the same time, is hypocritical.

It is the arsonists who want to implement expropriation without compensation after they have been dragging their feet with land reform and have been sitting on organised agriculture's proposals for so many years. It is the fire brigade with its sirens that is warning the whole world that a huge fire, which could let the country go up in flames in a style reminiscent of Venezuela or Zimbabwe, could be in the making. 

It surely made influential neighbours such as the banks, business leaders, politicians and journalists jump up to help put out the fire. No one wants to see yet another country on the downslide.


It is the careless comparison between AfriForum and the EFF that is not going down well though. Let's consider a few examples: 
Whereas the EFF is inciting people against farmers through their reckless rhetoric, AfriForum is doing everything in its power to combat farm attacks.

While the EFF is encouraging illegal land occupation and lawlessness, AfriForum is helping people of all races on a weekly basis to protect their properties.

When Hoërskool Overvaal came under attack from Panyaza Lesufi and the EFF, AfriForum protected the school for two weeks.
In the wake of state capturers having been under the impression that they could evade justice without punishment, AfriForum established a private prosecution unit led by Advocate Gerrie Nel to ensure justice for all races.

While Malema is making statements that he is not calling for the killing of white people, at least not yet, AfriForum's leadership more than often denounces incidents involving racism from white people.

While destructive marches, violent strikes and cases of mismanagement are taking place, AfriForum is restoring towns, roads and services for all residents.

Whereas the EFF and the ANC are polarising people according to race, AfriForum is building relationships with black groups such as the Zulu royal family, Cope and others.

Whereas the EFF's street fighters are inciting people and act in a disruptive way, AfriForum is establishing lawful neighbourhood watch structures countrywide to protect everyone and to make streets safe.

Whereas a sword may as well be the EEF's symbol, AfriForum is already being associated with a shield.

AfriForum and Solidarity offer important checks and balances in halting the slide to a failed state.


The reality is that, by global standards, AfriForum is a mainstream organisation that protects the legal order, the market economy, human and minority rights and the lives of people, and promotes race relations. However, do not expect AfriForum to sit idle in a sensitive manner when radicals want to make the country ungovernable or want to expropriate property without compensation. 

For the sake of white and black, rich and poor, the employed and the unemployed – and for the sake of the country – we cannot allow this to happen. No self-respecting fire brigade would stand by and watch how arsonists start fires, no matter how sensitively they go about it. 

We have seen to the north of us what the consequences are, and we are heeding the economic warning signs in time, not so?
Lastly, AfriForum most certainly supports constructive talks between government and agriculture leaders and cherishes the hope that it would yield solutions in the interests of all in the country. However, we remain sceptical that government would deem it necessary to conclude a sustainable agreement without more pressure being exerted. Tough experience in all other areas has taught that the ANC does not act according to a balance of interests but according to a balance of power. 

If governments concluded agreements with the group amenable to its aims then Mr Lucas Mangope would have become president in 1994. Ultimately, the NP government had to reach an agreement with the ANC. 

That is why AfriForum still continues along the main road, although they may be driving on the other side of the road – the side that is not full of potholes.

- Flip Buys is chairperson of AfriForum and the Solidarity Movement.

Disclaimer: News24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24.

Read more on:    afriforum  |  eff  |  ernst roets  |  land expropiation  |  land


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