By attempting to prosecute EFF Leader Julius Malema, Afriforum is taking a leaf out of the protectionist playbook of US President Donald Trump.
TV commentators in the US call it “red meat” – The Urban dictionary defines RED Meat as “Highly politicized issues that the American political Right have very strong feelings towards.”
And as we know, this kind of inflammatory rhetoric is not really aimed at the opposition, it is targeted at the group’s own supporters. In the case of Afriforum, it is aimed at right wing white people, mainly Afrikaners who have not yet relocated to Australia, Croatia or the USA.
The far right script is always the same. Watch out for phrases like “rule of law” and “morally justified arguments” “constructive dialogue” and “selective approach to reality”. They loudly and proudly proclaim the moral high ground and give some white people like me the creeps with their “Baasskap” entitlement.
Swart Gevaar and the Laager Mentality
So when Afriforum announces it wants to prosecute Julius and also the former President’s errant son Duduzane – it only highlights the Laager mentality and the whole “Swart Gevaar” sentiment of the white right wing.
Speaking to Eusebius McKaiser on Friday 20 April, Afriforum CEO Kallie Kriel clarified that the announcement on Thursday relates to the group starting the process for a private prosecution.
Online I feel like I’ve been sucked into some kind of War Games. The raw hurt blossoms in red and runs rivers on social media platforms and I feel once again that my country is being deliberately divided by clever manipulators who don’t care about the casualties in their ideological wars.
Let me make my personal point of view very clear. Of course there must be land expropriation without compensation! This isn’t even an issue.
Timing. Why Prosecute Malema Now?
Let’s look at what happened this week. AfriForum on Thursday announced its decision to privately prosecute EFF leader, Julius Malema. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel and AfriForum said they will prosecute Malema for fraud and corruption linked to On-Pointing Engineering contract. (In 2015, however, Malema’s corruption case was struck off the roll).
This announcement from Afriforum set Twitter alight.
[JUST IN] AfriForum led by Adv #GerrieNel have decided to mount a private prosecution against EFF leader “Julius Malema” alongside his co-accused Kagiso Dichabe and Lesiba Gwangwa. This relates to “corruption” linked to tenders received by a company called #OnPointEngineering.
— Xoli Mngambi (@XoliMngambi) April 19, 2018
The EFF’s commander-in-chief tweeted: “Bring it on bloody racists, you don’t scare me at all. I’m born ready! No white man will decide my destiny, the poor masses of our people will.”
Bring it on bloody racists, you don’t scare me at all. I’m born ready! No white man will decide my destiny, the poor masses of our people will… pic.twitter.com/nKkjHbXqYv
— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) April 19, 2018
Not Easy to Pursue a Private Prosecution in SA
Two Constitutional law experts explain that it will be very difficult to actually institute a private prosecution in South Africa.
Pierre de Vos (@pierredevos) wrote an article on his blog at the end off January titled Gerrie Nel’s politically dubious decision: extremely difficult to institute private prosecutions.
“The decision by rock star prosecutor Gerrie Nel to resign from the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to join the controversial Afriforum in order to pursue private prosecutions on their behalf, is odd. Apart from the fact that Afriforum is an organisation with a dubious political mandate and history, the organisation is currently not legally permitted to conduct private prosecutions. Moreover, it will only be able to assist private individuals to prosecute in very narrow circumstances.”
On IOL Unisa Emeritus Professor Shadrack Gutto said AfriForum’s plan to pursue a private prosecution against the former ANC Youth League leader would have to satisfy the Criminal Procedure Act requirement that a person seeking such prosecution must have a substantial and peculiar interest in the matter.
“It is not substantial interest because they are not the ones who were defrauded, if there was any fraud or corruption,” he said.
Land Expropriation Without Compensation
So it isn’t any secret that the EFF with its leader Julius Malema are at the forefront of the struggle for land expropriation without compensation and that right wing Afriforum is at the other end of the political spectrum.
This historic motion to amend the South African Constitution for the expropriation of land without compensation was passed in the National Assembly in February 2018. The motion was put on the agenda by the EFF and then amended and supported by the ANC.
For those who have strong feelings about this either way, Parliament is calling for public input on amending the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation.
As Julius Malema has said on many occasions “this is a debate, not a war.” Will someone please tell this to Kallie Kriel, Gerrie Nel and Afriforum.