PARLIAMENTARY PRIVILEGE CANNOT INCLUDE RACIST REMARKS AND ADVOCACY OF HATRED
Serious reflection is required on any the public pronouncements and statements made by South Africans in general but by public representatives and politicians in particular!
Letter to the South African Human Rights Commission see below
Copies of the letter of complaint was also directed to the office of the President and the ANC
Reported remarks on Friday 3 August 2008 in the Free State Provincial legislature by MEC Mathabo Leeto, Free State MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation:
"White South Africans have been rapists since Jan van Riebeeck arrived." Also,
Leeto said that “the graves of white South Africans had to be dug up so that their bodies could be held accountable.”
(From Afrikaans report by Netwerk24 on 7 August and published in Beeld p2 and Volksblad p1. The comments as reported in the Afrikaans media have been translated into English and may differ from the actual pronouncements.)
These remarks by Ms Mathabo Leeto, a Member of the Provincial Executive of the Free State, is an extreme racial attack on the integrity of white South Africans. It is unwarranted, uncalled for and without any substance. At the very least MEC Mathabo Leeto owe white South Africans, men and women, an apology without any reservations.
Although members of a provincial legislature are protected by Parliamentary Privilege (Section 117 of the Constitution) and have freedom of speech, it is subject to the legislature’s rules and orders. These rules and orders must in our opinion adhere to the Bill of Rights and can therefore not include advocacy of hatred based on race.
In February 2013 we lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission after similar remarks by former Minister Lulu Xingwana when she said during an ABC interview on 25 February 2013 that: “Young Afrikaner men are brought up in the Calvinist religion believing that they own a woman, they own a child, they own everything and therefore they can take that life because they own it. We also have cultural differences as well in our own communities where we have women who are forced into marriage and we are dealing with all those issues.” The SAHRC made a ruling in this regard after MS Xingwana offered an apology.
The unwarranted generalised allegations by MEC Mathabo Leeto are extremely harmful in a society already deeply divided. These remarks have a deeply racist motivation and accusation. In light of the above, this letter serves as a formal complaint to the South African Human Rights Commission. The Bill Of Rights contained as Chapter 2 in Act 108 of 1996 (The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa) grant certain rights, amongst which:
(Section 16) “Freedom of expression
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression,
(2) The right in subsection (1) does not extend to-
(c) advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm.”
We believe that MEC, Mathabo Leeto with these pronouncements in the Free State Legislature, advocated hatred based on race with specific reference to Section 16(2)(c) of the Bill of Rights.
We are of the opinion that the Human Rights Commission must investigate the matter as it falls within your constitutional mandate in terms of Section 184(2). The South African Human Rights Commission has the powers, as regulated by national legislation, necessary to perform its functions, including the power:-
(a) to investigate and to report on the observance of human rights;
(b) to take steps to secure appropriate redress where human rights have been violated.”
We believe that an urgent ruling on this pronouncement by MEC Mathabo Leeto is in the national interest and will contribute to an understanding of the required national social cohesion. The Afrikanerbond is extremely concerned that our society is on a downward slope towards a society which is once again divided by racism.
If South Africa claims to be a non-racial democracy, serious reflection is required on any the public pronouncements and statements made by South Africans in general but by public representatives and politicians in particular.
Our impression is that there was an increase in racist undertones, racial hate speech and inflammatory statements. With a general election looming it is of the utmost importance that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights once again take their rightful place as the supreme law against which politicians can be held accountable for their actions and statements.
We urge you to act on this complaint against MEC Mathabo Leeto and to urgently and in the public interest inform us of the outcome.
Statement issued by Jan Bosman, Chief Secretary: Die Afrikanerbond, 7 August 2018