Apartheid not a crime against humanity – AfriForum CEO

15 May 2018 - 08:06
By Ngwako Modjadji and Neo Goba
AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel says  apartheid was not a crime against humanity. / Deaan Vivier/Gallo Images
AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel says apartheid was not a crime against humanity. / Deaan Vivier/Gallo Images

There were not enough people killed during apartheid to justify it being called a crime against humanity.

This was said by AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel yesterday, who compared the number of people killed under the regime to the six million Jews murdered under Adolf Hitler.

"The figure we have is that 600 people were killed in the [19] 90s. In the '80s and early '90s, people died during the people's war conducted by the ANC," Kriel said. Asked how many deaths would warrant apartheid to be classified as a crime against humanity, Kriel said: "A decision to eradicate people by Adolf Hitler."

Kriel caused much anger yesterday when he told 702 Radio talkshow host Eusebius McKaiser that he did not believe that apartheid was a crime against humanity.

Last night he defended himself saying he recognised that the system was "an infringement of the rights of other people based on their race".

However, he insisted the United Nations was wrong to call it a crime against humanity. "There were never mass killings of people under apartheid as we saw under communism when the Jews were killed. When you speak about a concept of apartheid as a crime against humanity I see mass killings. That did not happen under apartheid."

Kriel said deputy CEO of AfriForum Ernst Roets had conducted research two years ago about the number of people killed during apartheid.

But, when called, Roets denied this and said he merely read what was available in the public domain on the subject.

This was despite the fact many black people were murdered by the apartheid regime even though there were not exact figures available.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, charged with investigating politically motivated gross human rights violations committee between 1960 and 1994, in its report fully endorsed the international law position that apartheid was a crime against humanity.

ANC national spokesman Pule Mabe said what characterised apartheid was its entrenchment of divisions and hatred in society. "It was through the democratic breakthrough facilitated by the ANC that everyone in this country has the right to vote and exercise their choice."

Mabe said it was important that everyone contributed towards building a better country where people do not see each through the colour of skins.

EFF national spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said AfriForum should be ignored.

"AfriForum knows they are lying. So the question is why would they say such ridiculous things? It is because they hope media will spread this very lie for them."

DA federal chairman Athol Trollip said Kriel was inaccurate. "The DA believes apartheid was a real travesty in every single respect . and nobody in their right mind can say apartheid was not a travesty, I believe it was," he said.

Kriel heads an organisation that claims to be representing all South Africans as a so-called "civil rights group".

It recently announced it would prosecute EFF leader Julius Malema for fraud and corruption related to work his company, On-Point Engineering, did for the roads department. This was made public last month by AfroForum's private prosecutions unit head Gerrie Nel who also announced they could successfully prosecute former President Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane for culpable homicide.

This was after it had asked the National Prosecuting Authority for a non-prosecution certificate for Zuma's case in November last year for his 2014 accident where a woman died when his luxury car collided with a taxi. However, the NPA announced last month it would prosecute Zuma, which AfriForum welcomed. 

EDITORIAL: AfriForum exposes its true colours 

Almost a quarter of a century since the end of formal apartheid, South Africa is struggling to move on with life.

Try as she does to chart a new path for herself, one that leads to a just society in which opportunities are not determined by the colour of one's skin, there are powerful interest groups trying to pull her back by denying the very reason she is on this path.

Among such groups is AfriForum, for a long time mischaracterised as a "civil rights group", something it clearly isn't.

When this organisation, which is clearly about preserving the ill-gotten privileges of the white minority - particularly Afrikaans-speaking whites - was founded it sought to position itself as a post-1994 organisation that wholeheartedly embraced the country's constitution.

However, its conduct over the years has confirmed the suspicion of many that - even though its leaders are quick to protest that they should not be held responsible for apartheid as they were either "not born" or were "still young" when it ruled over the land - it is an organisation of apartheid apologists.

Yesterday's remarks by one of AfriForum's most recognised leaders, CEO Kallie Kriel, should come as no surprise. He told 702 Radio talkshow host Eusebius McKaiser that: "I don't think that apartheid was a crime against humanity," though adding, however unconvincingly, that he did think "it was wrong".

This is a huge admission and goes to the heart of the problem confronting South Africa today as she struggles to break with her evil past: apartheid denialism.

As long as groups such as AfriForum refuse to accept the severity of the damage caused by apartheid to the vast majority of South Africans, there will always be efforts by such groups to undermine transformation programmes aimed at deracialising our society.

Kriel goes further in his dispute of the United Nations' declaration of apartheid as a crime against humanity by claiming that, unlike other evil systems that have ruled around the world, apartheid only killed 700 people.

Only an apartheid apologist would deny that thousands of people died and that millions more suffered as a result of the racist system.