|Motto||Laat jou stem hoor (English: Make your voice heard)|
|Headquarters||Union Street, Kloofsig, Centurion, Gauteng|
|Kallie Kriel (CEO), Alana Bailey (Deputy CEO), Ernst Roets (Deputy CEO)|
AfriForum is a South African civil-rights organisation linked to the Solidarity trade union. It was established in 2006 with the objective of encouraging the participation of minority groups such as Afrikaners in public debate and civil actions. It particularly promotes the protection of Afrikaner culture, and has opposed renaming streets and affirmative action, which it considers a form of Discrimination.
According to AfriForum CEO, Kallie Kriel, AfriForum is a civil rights initiative to mobilise civil society and specifically minority communities, in order to take part in democratic debate. Kriel further stated that AfriForum would like to achieve balance in South Africa. “True democracy needs alternative voices in order to succeed. While we aren’t a political party, we give alternative ideas and suggestions, where applicable, to the government stance.”
AfriForum was founded in 2006. The organisation's roots can be traced back to the active social role that Solidarity has played in the South African political landscape. AfriForum's Civil Rights Charter was officially adopted by the organization on 7 September 2006 during a discussion forum held in Pretoria.
Campaigns and policies
The organisation's principal focus is inter alia on the following areas: civil rights, safety and security, community affairs, local government, environmental affairs, education as well as preserving language, culture and heritage of minorities in South Africa.
In 2009, the group contested the presence of Robert Mugabe at the inauguration of Jacob Zuma's presidency. It was also involved in a bid to prevent the delivery of Alouette III Air Force helicopters to the Zimbabwean army.
Afriforum has joined the Treasure Karoo Action Group to stop the issuing shale gas exploration licences in the Karoo. AfriForum has been a devoted supporter of anti-poaching efforts, and raises awareness surrounding rhino poaching in South Africa.
The group has been involved in a free speech case involving the then-ANC Youth leader Julius Malema and the singing of "Shoot the boer" song, which according to them made many Afrikaners feel degraded and believed it to "incite harm against" whites. The song was later banned as hate speech by South Africa's high court. Afriforum adopted a similar stance towards the word Kaffir, arguing that it should not be used at all.
Afriforum has also campaigned against e-tolling, urging motorists not to register for the system.
Afriforum has been a vocal critic of the ANC's response to the farm attack cases, claiming that the party bears a responsibility for "remain[ing] silent" about the violence, and lodging a complaint to the South African Human Rights Commission against the Police Minister for failing to do enough to protect farmers.
A campaign against racial quotas in higher education saw AfriForum Youth members paint themselves black to protest the alleged discrimination against 30 learners who were turned away from the University of Pretoria. Another campaign protesting racial quotas involved charging students of different races different prices for a cup of coffee, with white students paying R5 a cup, coloured and Indians R3, and blacks R1.
Crime and corruption
The organisation has often criticised government for its lack of willingness to address the problem of farm murders. AfriForum is of the opinion that farm murders should be declared a priority crime, and has raised widespread local awareness and increasing international awareness of the problem by means of several campaigns, including the ‘Stop the Murders’ campaign. The organisation has also campaigned to address the overall problem of crime and corruption, especially with regard to municipal employees guilty of fraud.
Education, language and culture
Two of the core objectives of AfriForum Youth have been the promotion of multilingualism and mother tongue education in South Africa, and for youth in the country to be exempted from affirmative action.
The capital city of South Africa has been subjected to name change controversies during the past few years, from Pretoria to Tshwane. The South African government has indicated that the changing of geographical names must be refocused. The ANC MEC for Gauteng, Lebogang Maile, stated that “the issue of naming and renaming was long overdue and needs to be fast-tracked as part of Nation Building and Social Transformation". These include areas in South Africa that have a significant Afrikaner heritage. In 2011 AfriForum held talks with the Executive Mayor of the Tshwane Metropolitan Council, together with several political parties to find a win-win solution to the issue regarding street name changes.
The Tshwane Metro Council has launched renewed efforts in October 2013 to change the capital’s name. AfriForum mobilised the support of 160 000 residents of Pretoria within a few days with an electronic and text message campaign. The process is still pending.
The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) stated that land is a contentious issue in South Africa, and that the ruling ANC party is blaming whites for still owning 80% of the total land surface. In fact, the Government’s own land-ownership documentation shows that by the start of 2011 roughly 50% of all land was in the hands of Government and black communities.
As of March 2011, 31 million hectares or 25% of the 122 million hectares surface area of South Africa were in the hands of the State. The remaining 91 million hectares or 75% of the surface area was privately owned. The bulk of white-owned land is probably in the hands of commercial farmers, South Africa's food producers. Their numbers are dwindling rapidly. There are only an estimated 30 000 to 40 000 of these farmers left, down from 60 000 fifteen years ago.
South African President, Jacob Zuma has called for a review of the land policy, echoing the contents of the Green Paper on Land Reform, but AfriForum claims that the president’s statement regarding the review of willing buyer, willing seller principle as stated in Section 25 of the South African Constitution, as a means to speed up the land restitution process was misplaced. AfriForum has in the past joined the South African Progressive Civic Organisation (Sapco), a Khoisan community, in a protest over the land rights of the indigenous group, with both minority groups feeling they have no representation in the current government.
During 2012, AfriForum's legal team represented the legitimate owners of land in the black community of Wallmansthal, North of Pretoria, in the North Gauteng High Court to take back their land from illegal occupiers. The court ruled in favour of AfriForum. Thousands of illegal land invaders, who occupied the land between December 2011 and February 2012, were removed from the land.
AfriForum regularly seeks international platforms to speak to the international community regarding the minority rights situation in South Africa. AfriForum has on several occasions attended the United Nations' Human Rights Council's Forum on Minority Issues in Geneva, Switzerland regarding minority rights in South Africa. AfriForum has also been a delegate to a conference of the United Nations’ (UN) Human Rights Council regarding the prevention of the incitement of hatred on the grounds of nationality, race or religion.
AfriForum has engaged in a comprehensive strategy that aims to bring the violation of human and minority rights in South Africa to the attention of the international community. AfriForum has on numerous occasions criticised the ruling ANC about the denial of minority rights in the country. However, City Press journalist Adriaan Basson (now editor of the Afrikaans daily newspaper, Beeld) has accused the organisation of overreacting to the situation regarding minority rights in South Africa. Basson has mentioned in an open letter to AfriForum CEO, Kallie Kriel, that the premise of AfriForum’s campaigns is one of victimhood.
This department addresses municipal service delivery problems in over 125 towns and cities across South Africa.
In order to achieve this goal, AfriForum attempts to establish partnerships with municipalities. The organisation allegedly submits wish lists to municipalities, and municipalities convert it into action plans to address issues. AfriForum says if municipalities do not cooperate in improving service delivery to residents, the organisation approaches courts to order municipalities to enforce service delivery.
An example of intervention by AfriForum in this regard, was the urgent order awarded to the organisation against the Vhembe District Municipality by the High Court in Pretoria, forcing the municipality to supply water to Makhado residents. In a similar case in 2013, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria granted AfriForum an order stopping the Madibeng Municipality from cutting electricity supply to Hartbeespoort.
In 2010 a legal team for AfriForum representing farmers in Zimbabwe won a court bid to sue Zimbabwe's government over its “cruel” and “vengeful” expropriation of South African-owned farms. In 2008 the regional court SADC tribunal ruled that Zimbabwe's land reform was illegal and racist, and that those who had suffered discrimination by having their farms expropriated had the right to compensation.
AfriForum’s Community Safety Department participates in endeavours which promote the safety of citizens within communities. A large emphasis is placed on assisting communities and neighbourhoods to establish safety structures. Some of these structures include neighbourhood watches, farm watches, radio networks and community forums.
In 2011 AfriForum commissioned Professor Rudolph Zinn of UNISA to conduct research into successful community safety structures in South Africa. The research has led to the compilation of a community safety handbook that has been implemented in all AfriForum branches countrywide. The department also focuses on the role of government and in particular that of law enforcement agencies, and acts as a pressure group so that citizens get the best safety and security possible.
AfriForum has been a devoted supporter of anti-poaching efforts, and raises awareness surrounding rhino poaching in South Africa. In addition, the organisation is opposed to fracking and the issuing of shale gas exploration licences in the Karoo.
Shoot the Boer case and hate speech
AfriForum Youth opened a civil case against former ANC Youth League President (ANCYL), Julius Malema, in the Equality Court after his repeated singing of the words “dubul’ ibhunu”, which translate as “shoot the boer”, at a number of ANC Youth League gatherings. Judge Colin Lamont ruled in the South Gauteng High Court that the song constituted hate speech and undermined the dignity of Afrikaners, and was discriminatory and harmful. In 2012 AfriForum and the ANC reached a settlement before the appeal case was due to be argued in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in Bloemfontein. The ANCYL has on occasion stated that AfriForum is "the defender of white privilege".
AfriForum has also brought charges of hate speech against individuals, among others Ronald Lamola, the then acting president of the ANC Youth League following a complaint regarding Lamola's remarks that the ANCYL could no longer guarantee the safety of the Van der Merwes and Van Tonders (traditional white Afrikaans family names) if white South Africans refused to voluntarily give up their land and mineral rights. In February 2013 AfriForum Youth brought a complaint of hate speech against Jason Mfusi, the leader of SASCO (The South African Students Congress) of the North-West University for his remark: "My grandfather says 'n goeie boer is 'n dooie boer", translated as “My grandfather says a good farmer is a dead farmer” which he posted on the social network, Facebook. The youth organisation reached an agreement with the SASCO leader by means of a mediation process, as requested by the Human Rights Commission (HRC) of the University. In terms of the agreement, Mfusi had to issue a written apology to the farming community.
The organisation has been criticized, most notability by the ruling ANC as well as by media outlets such as City Press, including the paper’s editor Ferial Haffajee and academics such as University of Cape Town Professor Pierre de Vos. Survivalist groups such as the Kommandokorps have also criticised the organisation, alleging that the group is too moderate in their approach to problems facing South Africa.
A Chapter 9 institution, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, launched an attack on AfriForum's campaign for the protection of Afrikaans medium schools in a press release. It was presumed by AfriForum that the Commission deliberately acted in contravention of its mandate as set out in Section 185 of the Constitution, which led AfriForum to suspect that the Commission was functioning as an extension of the ruling party.
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