Kallie Kriel: AfriForum/Zulu relationship brings hope
It is mind-boggling that Melanie Verwoerd in her article "The king and Kallie Kriel: Strange (and dangerous) bed fellows" tries to argue in all earnest that AfriForum and His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini's positive decision to work together on the basis of mutual recognition and respect on matters of common importance is "dangerous".
The contrary is true, rather. Healthy relationships, respect and cooperation between South Africa's respective cultural communities – despite differences that may exist – in fact offers hope in the current political climate where the EFF and radical elements within the ANC attempt to polarise South Africans along racial lines.
Verwoerd and a few other advocates of the current political establishment seemingly do not realise how prescriptive and intolerant they have become of any person or group that has a viewpoint differing from theirs.
In her article Verwoerd not only blames AfriForum because we dare to take a strong stand against President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that he and his party would carry expropriation without compensation through, she even wants to prescribe who AfriForum may or may not build healthy relationships with.
AfriForum, in contrast with this, stands for freedom and tolerance. This presupposes that everyone has the right to have alternative points of view, unashamedly exercise their culture and form alliances with other cultural communities.
Irrespective of Verwoerd's critique, AfriForum will in the coming months intensify its attempts to – on a basis of mutual recognition and respect – build healthy relationships between the country's cultural communities. An example hereof is the court case that AfriForum is driving against the KwaZulu-Natal education department on behalf of a traditional community in Nkandla to have a school built in the community. The case will be heard in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 26 October.
The true "danger" that threatens the country is not – as Verwoerd argues – AfriForum or the Zulu king's opposition against expropriation without compensation, but rather the fact that the acceptance of the policy of expropriation without compensation will have catastrophic consequences for South Africa's economy and consequently for the country's residents. It would benefit those who apparently do not see the danger that the ANC's disrespect for property rights hold, to ascertain the destructive consequences that such policy directions had elsewhere in the world.
Venezuela, for example, was the richest country in central America in the 1980s, with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) which compared to Norway. Similar to what the ANC currently argues, Venezuela's regime at the time argued that they took "underutilised" land into ownership without compensation in order to increase "food production" and ensure "economic progress".
The consequences that it held for Venezuela, is there today for everyone to see. This country's inflation rate is currently approximately 1 000 000% and 80% of Venezuela's people are living in absolute poverty. It is tragic to read that, out of desperation, people in Venezuela started to break into zoos to steal the animals to eat.
Closer to home, Zimbabwe is also an example of the destructive consequences of disrespect for property rights. The fact that this lead to an unemployment rate of 90% in Zimbabwe is an indication that disrespect for property rights not only does an injustice to owners of property, but that everyone in the country is hit once the country's economy collapses.
AfriForum therefore strongly believes that our opposition to expropriation without compensation is of importance to everyone in the country, except perhaps the single politicians who will – as in Zimbabwe – enrich themselves through the expropriation process.
AfriForum is determined to prevent South Africa from following the same path as Venezuela and Zimbabwe. Irrespective again of Verwoerd's critique, AfriForum will further intensify its campaign against expropriation without compensation – nationally and internationally – and will simultaneously continue to promote healthy relationships and mutual recognition and respect between the cultural communities in South Africa.
- Kriel is CEO of AfriForum.
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