In a development that has got the ANC ducking and diving, the opposition Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) has laid a complaint against President Jacob Zuma, accusing him of hate speech, it has been confirmed. According to the South African Human Rights Commission, the FF Plus has complained that what Jacob Zuma said in a statement attributed to him is not only historically incorrect but was also hate speech which sought to portray all other non-black South Africans as not being indigenous to South Africa.
The problem seems to have emanated from a speech that was made by Zuma at an ANC fundraising rally last Friday when he said: “All the trouble began in 1652 when Jan van Riebeeck landed in the Cape”. In the view of the FF Plus, the statement generalised negatively about the descendants of Jan van Riebeeck and white people in particular, and that the statement demonised Afrikaners based on an incorrect historical view, this was confirmed by the South African Human Rights Commission spokesperson, Isaac Mangena.
Confirming the charge they had laid against Jacob Zuma, the FF Plus spokesperson, Anton Alberts said that his party had felt compelled to lay the charge against Zuma because he had “referred to whites and wherever whites engaged with black people, they engaged in aggressive acts and warfare and displacement of black people”. He said that this could easily be construed as hate speech which sought to demonise the descendants of Jan van Riebeeck, adding that this was based on an incorrect historical fact.
According to spokesperson, Isaac Mangena, the South African Human Rights Commission was in the process of trying to assess the complaint and to see if it has a mandate to pursue it. He added, however that it was not clear how long this process would take and would not be drawn into commenting on what the FF Plus course of action would be if SAHRC could not help them.
While Mac Maharaj of the Presidency would not comment on the matter, pointing rather to the party organs as the speech is reported to have been made at an ANC event, the ANC publicity crew could not be reached for comment.