SAHRC probing Zuma's Van Riebeeck comment

2015-02-18 20:58
President Jacob Zuma delivering the 2015 State of the Nation address.

President Jacob Zuma delivering the 2015 State of the Nation address.

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Johannesburg - The SA Human Rights Commission on Wednesday confirmed it is investigating complaints of hate speech against President Jacob Zuma.

"We have accepted these complaints and have started with the investigation," SAHRC spokesperson Isaac Mangena said.

The Freedom Front Plus last month laid a complaint of hate speech with the Commission related to statements attributed to Zuma at an African National Congress fundraiser.

Zuma reportedly told some of the country's wealthiest people that "all the trouble began" in 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck landed in the Cape.

Mangena said: "We have since received two more complaints regarding the same matter."

It was not immediately clear who had laid the two additional complaints.

African National Congress spokesperson Keith Khoza said: "We believe that the president, whatever remarks he made, would be vindicated".

FF Plus spokesperson Anton Alberts welcomed the investigation.

"The fact that the HRC has decided to investigate the comments indicates that this body is of the opinion that there are merits to the complaint.

"The comments could in addition be historically disputed and it could justifiably asked whether this is the official view of the ANC."

Alberts previously said the party felt compelled to lay the complaint because it felt the remarks attributed to Zuma constituted a form of hate speech.

"He spoke on a racial basis. He referred to whites and wherever whites engaged with black people, they engaged in aggressive acts and warfare and displacement of black people," Alberts claimed.

"He [Zuma] also said that the ANC was a formation of indigenous people... which implies other people can't be regarded as indigenous."

Alberts pointed to the preamble of the Constitution, which states that South Africa belongs to all those who live in it.

As such, Zuma's words conveyed the impression that whites, coloureds and Indians were "non-indigenous", creating "a dispensation where they are regarded as second-rate citizens, as colonists".

He said the comments attributed to Zuma were historically incorrect.

"We ask that the SAHRC require the ANC to put out paid advertisements in the mainstream newspapers [to apologise] and also that Zuma, out of his own pocket, and the ANC pay each R1m into a fund for minority victims of crime," Alberts said.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  jacob zuma
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