The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) ruling on Julius Malema’s comments (which they deemed did not constitute hate speech) could be considered unprecedented in democratic South Africa in the way that it has paved the foundations for racism, particularly anti-white racism.
What the SAHRC ruling has done is to justify what clearly appears blatant hate speech as well as the incitement to violence against a minority group, which is in this case white South Africans. It hasn’t taken long for the bad eggs within the dark places of our society such as the Black First Land First (BLF) (among others) to come out in support of the SAHRC’s verdict.
The BLF has used harmful and hateful rhetoric against whites over the last year including the run up to the elections. They’ve demonized whites as land thieves and criminals, referred too them as “settlers,” have chanted slogans such as “one settler, one bullet,” made known their desire to kill whites, stated that white existence is a crime, as well as many other horrendous things (one or which, one might add, is that they would side with a black rapist if the victim was white). People who support such rhetoric and possess a hatred for whites will no doubt come out in support of a verdict that undermines the rights and dignity of whites, such as the one of SAHRC. The BLF response is telling in hindsight of the SAHRC’s failure, for if the BLF would support something, it is almost certainly hate speech aimed at whites.
The SAHRC has in essence just refueled the vehicle of anti-white hatred by allowing it the room to breathe. As such, this ruling is not merely about Malema and the EFF. In fact, it concerns far more than that alone. It is about what views we can express about others of different races, cultures, and religions in public. It is about freedom of expression in terms of its limits and what is allowed to be said in public. It is about how we apply the law and whether or not we do so equally and fairly. It is also inextricably linked to racial relations in this country. If such views can go unopposed as hate speech, then one shouldn’t be surprised if the delicate fabric of racial relations is torn yet again, this time due to the SAHRC’s ruling.
To add insult to injury, this wouldn’t appear the first time authoritative bodies within South Africa have failed to protect the rights and dignity of its white people. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the body which oversees our elections, still allowed the BLF to register even though BLF policies, namely that only blacks can join their party and that their organization fully and completely rejects white people, violated IEC principles. The SAHRC and the IEC, two bodies who are in their own ways linked to upholding the rights and dignity of all South Africans, have failed to do so. These bodies have sorely missed a key opportunity to vilify, reject, and expose racism for what it is in this country.
I really do believe the SAHRC ruling has just brought us to a very bad place indeed, especially for those of us who desire racial equality and cohesion in this country. But for someone liked Julius Malema, his followers, or for the leaders and supporters of the BLF, this is exactly where they want South Africa to be, and they have the SAHRC to thank.