Academic Adam Habib hits out at 'disgusting' AfriForum leaders

Wits University Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib has been caught up in a Twitter uproar after he suggested in a post that AfriForum leaders Kallie Kriel and Ernst Roets reflected the worst of current-day South Africa.

Habib made the remark in response to a tweet by Kriel, who is AfriForum's CEO, in which he posed in a picture with deputy CEO Ernst Roets and John Robert Bolton, who has recently been appointed as security advisor to US President Donald Trump.

Kriel and Roets are in the US on a trip to cast a spotlight on farm attacks in South Africa and the issue of land expropriation without compensation. They have also been interviewed by Tucker Carlson on Fox News.

In his post, Kriel expressed optimism after meeting Bolton.

"Great turn of events: With a bit of luck @ErnstRoets and I met John Robert Bolton, USA National Security Advisor to @realDonaldTrump. We also gave him a copy of Ernst's new #KillTheBoerBook on #FarmMurders & #ExpropriationWithoutCompensation in SA."

Habib, who is also in the US, responded: "Your associations in the US prove what disgusting human beings you truly are. You are an embarrassment to SA & its constitution. Every nation has somebody who reflects its worse side. The Germans had Hitler, the Ugandans, Amin, apartheid SA, Verwoed, and current SA the two of you."

Roets tweeted that Habib should apologise.

"Not to us. To the victims of farm murders and the victims of the Jewish Holocaust."

Habib came under heavy criticism.

He then responded in a three-part tweet.

"For those in AfriForum debate: Read the tweets and look at the responses. I critiqued AfriForum for engaging a known fascist in the US. Yet responses have been about crime and farm murders. But I have not raised this or even disputed the tragedy of crime, both urban and rural.

"Others have criticised me for being silent about the failures of government and other parties. But this is not true. Read anything I have written in the last year and this will be evident...

"Finally some suggest that Bolton is national security advisor. This is immaterial. His ideas are the same. When you engage him and tweet a picture with him, don't be surprised to be challenged. And can AfriForum still explain what is their game plan with Bolton?..."

Roets recently faced off with North West University associate professor Elmien du Plessis over her comments on farm murders.

READ: Varsity prof on AfriForum's 'angry' Roets: 'Threat of violence, hanging not acceptable'

He launched an attack on Du Plessis over the weekend after she tweeted that AfriForum's statistics did not support the organisation's claims of an ongoing genocide against white people, or even white farmers, in South Africa.

Roets responded in a video in which he launched into a veiled threat by quoting Victor Klemperer, who was a survivor of the Holocaust.

"If one day the situation were reversed and the fate of the vanquished were in my hands, then I would let all the ordinary folk go and then some of the leaders who might have after all had horrible intentions and not name what they were doing but I would have all the intellectuals strung up and all the professors, three feet, higher than the rest.

"They would be left hanging from the lampposts for as long as it was compatible with hygiene… Of course, we have no intention to harm anyone. We have no intention to harm you for making these statements.

"We don't even have an intention to debate you. The only reason why we do is to ensure that rational truth seeking people are not misled by the hatred and the condescending shrugging off of the fact that we are being attacked, and not only that, but we are being tortured…"

READ THE FULL COLUMN: AfriForum's own farm murder stats don't support their claims

Speaking shortly after her column on the matter was published by News24, Du Plessis said: "Every person's emotions are real to them, and we should hold the space for one another, and acknowledge that. What I saw in the video was anger. I can hold that space for him to be angry.

"It saddens me that Mr Roets responds to someone who puts forward a different perspective on the discussion on farm murders with disdain, stating that they are not interested in a debate."

Du Plessis said, while she could tolerate his angry tirade, the threat of violence was not acceptable.

"Invoking the spectre of violence and hanging is wildly inappropriate. I am also not sure if he can compare himself to a Holocaust victim.

"I understand that he walked back some of his more heinous comments, but the context of his words before and after the limited walk back does not sit comfortably.

"He made an active choice to read the quotation and to put the video on YouTube, with the quote. And that will be his responsibility to bear."

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