NEWS & ANALYSIS

Vilification of Jacob Zuma condemned - MKMVA

Association outraged by UNS academic Theo Venter's comparing former President with NP leaders

Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) condemns the racist remarks of UNS academic Theo Venter, as well as the general atmosphere of vilification against former president Jacob Zuma

7 June 2018

The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) is outraged by the insulting and down-right racist remarks that Theo Venter, a political and policy specialist at the North West University (NWU) School of Business and Governance, made during a radio debate with comrade Carl Niehaus, our Spokesperson and MKMVA NEC member, under the title ‘Praat Saam’ (Talk Together) on the Afrikaans radio station Radio Sonder Grense (RSG). The debate was live on RSG on Tuesday the 5th of June 2018 from 08:00 - 09:00, and covered the topic about the responsibility of the South African State and the African National Congress (ANC) towards former President Jacob Zuma.

In the course of the debate Theo Venter saw it fit to make an outrageous comparison between former President Jacob Zuma and the white supremacist Prime Ministers and Presidents that ruled racist and apartheid South Africa since 1910 up to 1994. He made the outrageous claim that former President Zuma was worse than any of them. The full debate, and the deeply offensive comments that Venter made, can be listened to via the following link: https://iono.fm/e/567359 (we apologize that an English transcript of the debate that took place in Afrikaans is not yet available).

What Venter in effect did was to compare an ANC liberation fighter, with an illustrious career as a freedom fighter and a Commander of Umkhonto we Sizwe, who was the 12th President of the ANC and 3rd President of our democratic South Africa, in the person of comrade Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, with the likes of DF Malan, Hans Strydom, Hendrik Verwoerd (the architect of apartheid), John Vorster, PW Botha and FW de Klerk. All of them were racist rulers that brutally oppressed black (especially African) South Africans. They were gross human rights abusers of the worst kind, and in terms of international law criminals who should have been charged, brought to book and jailed for the human rights crimes that they have committed.

These racist apartheid monsters were responsible for the destruction of millions of black lives, and the death and mayhem that were inflicted on the majority of black (especially African) South Africans. Not a single black South African escaped the deep physical and psychological abuse, outright destruction and injury that these criminals inflicted on them through the systemic racist system of apartheid. For Venter to even dare to compare Msholozi, who dedicated his whole adult life to the liberation struggle against racist oppression, with these racist human rights abusers and to dare to say that they were better than him was not only grossly insensitive, but it is downright unbridled racist. In doing so Venter exposed himself as totally insensitive to the pain that apartheid through the actions of these white racist leaders inflicted on black South Africans, and the continued negative consequences of apartheid that every black South African still battled with up to this very day.

Such an outrageous comparison can only come from a white racist and apologist for apartheid. When strongly reprimanded by our National Spokesperson, Venter audibly laughed and added insult to injury by trying to dismiss cde. Carl Niehaus’ rightful anger as an “emotionele uitbarsting” (emotional outburst). Instead of taking heed of the strong reprimand that he was receiving, Venter insisted on defending his deeply offensive and racist comparison. In doing so he exposed himself for the un-rehabilitated racist apartheid apologist that he evidently is.

MKMVA concurs with the call that our Spokesperson made during the debate that the North West University (NWU) should immediately lodge an investigation into these remarks that Venter made, and his fitness to continue to lecture and be employed by the NWU. The NWU is funded with tax payers money by our democratic state, and like all educational institutions it has the duty to fight racism in every form and shape, and to work towards the attainment of a non-racial and progressive society underpinned by the human rights enshrined in our Constitution. MKMVA therefore calls on the Vice-Chancellor of NWU, Professor Dan Kgwadi, to immediately insitute a formal investigation into the conduct of Theo Venter, and as a bare minimum response to suspend him from lecturing until the investigation is concluded.

It is intolerable for someone who has made the racist comparison that Venter made to be allowed to use (and abuse) the lecture rooms and other university facilities, largely paid for by our democratic State, in order to poison the minds of students. We furthermore call on the Minister of Higher Education, comrade Naledi Pandor, to follow up on this matter and engage the UNW about it, and if so required to take the necessary steps to ensure that appropriate action is taken by the UNW against Venter. MKMVA will furthermore engage the provincial structures of the ANC in the North West Province, the South African Students Congress (SASCO), the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and all other progressive student organisations, to campaign for appropriate disciplinary action to be taken against Venter, and for the ultimate removal of Venter as a lecturer at the UNW.

Indeed these kind of racist comparisons/remarks by anyone should be the concern of all South Africans throughout the country, who are committed to the establishment of a truly just non-racial and democratic South Africa, but it should even be of greater concern when it comes from an academic and lecturer who is responsible for the education of our youth. This cannot be tolerated, and must be rooted out wherever it raises it’s ugly head. MKMVA will therefore also lodge a charge of racism and hate speech against Theo Venter with the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC). There can be no doubt that to compare Msholozi to a racist monster like Hendrik Verwoerd, and to state that Verwoerd was actually better, is hate speech of the worst kind!

MKMVA has no doubt that there are still many more whites like Theo Venter who may be trying to hide their racism and hankering back to what they consider to be “die goeie ou dae van apartheid” (the good old days of apartheid), but when they get the slightest chance they expose themselves for the un-rehabilitated racists that they in reality are.

Theo Venter’s behaviour is an indication of a much bigger problem. Like him these racists should be exposed and the necessary action, in terms of the law in defense of our liberation history and human rights culture, should be taken. They should be named and shamed. This should be done unapologetically and without any hesitation. Racism has bedeviled our beloved country for far too long. It is a scourge that should be fought tooth and nail!

MKMVA also believes that it is important to issue a stern warning against the continuing attempts by some in our society - unfortunately even some of our our comrades and alliance partners - to vilify former President Jacob Zuma. In this regard the recent ill-advised, and entirely unjustified, vociferous attack by the SACP (as articulated by it’s General Secretary, Blade Nzimande), needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. This is certainly not how comrades should conduct themselves, and it is entirely foreign to the culture of the African National Congress and the Tri-partite Alliance. We call on our leaders in the ANC, and specifically the NEC of the ANC, to join us in unreservedly condemning such attacks which are intended to create a ‘free-for-all’ atmosphere of vilification of a fellow comrade and former President.

It is entirely unacceptable attacks of this nature that enables racist of the ilk of Venter to spit out their vile racist bile at Msholozi, and all other black South Africans. We call on the SACP and every other South African - whether comrades or not - to cease their ill-advised and myopic attacks on Msholozi forthwith. They are deliberately creating a toxic atmosphere in which racism thrives, and the personal safety of Msholozi is increasingly being compromised and threatened. If this behaviour continues, those who indulge in it will sadly live to regret the consequences of their conduct.

Issued by Carl Niehaus, MKMVA National Spokesperson, on behalf of the President of MKMVA, Comrade Kebby Maphatsoe, and the NWC and NEC of MKMVA, 7 June 2018