The European Commission has condemned apparent “hate speech” by a radical politician in South Africa but insisted it has faith in the country’s institutions to deal with the issue.
Local Marxist firebrand Julius Malema was earlier this month filmed taking part in a chant that allegedly calls for the shooting of Boers, the country’s 17th century settlers. Melema leads the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a far left-wing party he founded in 2013.
At a well-attended celebration marking the EFF’s 10th anniversary, he chanted “kill the Boer”, a slogan deriding South Africans of Dutch, German and Huguenot descent.
The footage featuring Malema in his usual red beret surfaced on social media, sparking renewed discussions about the contentious song that originated during the anti-apartheid struggles that ended in the early 1990s.
Malema is a self-confessed supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin and well known for his anti-West, anti-European comments.
There has been a surge in attacks on Boer farmers.
South Africa’s Pan-Africanist political party chants "Shoot to kill. Kill the Boer (Whites), kill the farmer." pic.twitter.com/iQKVv4KKPE
— 🏴☠️InTylerWeTrust🏴☠️🥃🤍 (@bourbonislife80) August 1, 2023
Asked to comment, European Commission spokesperson told Brussels Signal: “The EU rejects hate speech and incitement to violence targeting any person or group based on their race or ethnic origin, religion, gender or orientation in all circumstances.
“We work closely with South Africa on human rights issues. Our human rights and democracy strategy for South Africa has as its first priority to, ‘Protect and empower people, eliminating inequalities, discrimination and exclusion.’ This includes monitoring and combatting issues such as hate speech, racism and xenophobia.
“South Africa has strong democratic institutions, including a constitutionally mandated Human Rights Council to deal with issues around hate speech, racism, xenophobia and discrimination,” the spokesman said.
“We therefore have full confidence that the matter will be dealt with within the law.”
AfriForum, an NGO that focuses on the interests of Afrikaners, has announced it will go to the courts, again, after the country’s Equality Court ruled in 2022 that the Kill the Boer chant is “not hate speech”.
Kallie Kriel, CEO of AfriForum, said the court appeal forms part of his group’s strategy to oppose Malema’s “racist and polarising actions” on three fronts; through legal actions, the mobilisation of “community safety structures” and the promotion of “mutual recognition and respect” between cultural communities.
“I believe AfriForum has a strong case against Malema but should the South African courts find that it is acceptable for Malema to sing songs that incite genocide against minorities, AfriForum will pursue the case internationally,” Kriel said.
@elonmusk, your concern is greatly needed. Just look at the Plaasmoorde monument: each cross represents a white farmer killed. This monument adds a chilling context to Julius Malema's 'Kill the Boer' song. It's crucial to acknowledge the real-world implications beyond the lyrics: pic.twitter.com/rK5W3YLIGP
— Jonas Nilsson (@Jonas2Nilsson) August 4, 2023
In an odd turn of events, given that Malema is apparently pro-Russian, Russia Today reported that Moscow is planning to build an “African village” in Russia as part of a five-year pilot programme to settle thousands of Boer migrants from South Africa. Russia Today is banned in the EU.
African diplomats joined African International Congress in Russia (AIC) representatives and local officials from Tver Oblast Region, not far from Moscow, last week for a ceremony unveiling the symbolic cornerstone of the village, which is set to be built near the hamlet of Porechye. The plan is to establish 30 such settlements in Russia for Boer Afrikaners who want to emigrate there.
The goal is to settle about 3,000 Boer families. If successful, the AIC and its partners hope to expand the programme to other regions in Russia.