Derek Hanekom's pseudo-anti-racism

John Kane-Berman says the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation seems blind to the vilification of whites in SA

Racism and racial hypocrisy

Along with Helen Zille, Dianne Kohler Barnard, and Chris Hart, I will no doubt be accused of thought-crime for saying so, but the recent decision of the Constitutional Court in the social grant case is something of a victory for the "white monopoly capitalism" the African National Congress (ANC) likes denouncing.  

Even if Cash Paymaster Services (CPS) does not profit as handsomely as planned from its invalid contract with the South African Social Security Agency to distribute social grants, the fact that the court extended the contract for another year shows how dependent the ANC government is on "white monopoly capitalists".

Speaking on Human Rights Day last week, President Jacob Zuma said that the payment of grants was a "huge achievement in fighting poverty". Indeed, but everybody knows it would not have happened had distribution been left to his government. This, of course, did not stop Mr Zuma from chalking up another denunciation of the "white monopoly control" on which he relies so heavily.  

Human Rights Day marked the culmination of "anti-racism week 2017", whose cheerleader is Derek Hanekom, minister of tourism. Writing as chairman of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Mr Hanekom called on everyone to "take on racism", which, he claimed, was "deeply entrenched" in our society.

So it may be. The question is where it is so deeply entrenched. In an article of no more than two pages which was widely reproduced in the media, Mr Hanekom managed to mention Penny Sparrow twice, even though this hapless woman has already paid an exorbitant price for her crass remarks. The Pretoria Girls High School hairstyle incident also got a mention.   

No reference to the hideous brutality characterising so many murders of whites on farms. No mention of the repeated accusations that white farmers are racists who have stolen all their land. No reference to the never-ending abusive remarks directed at "white monopoly capital". No reference to the increasing spate of legislation enjoining the practice of racial discrimination against whites to promote black economic empowerment.

The "anti-racism" campaign can dig Ms Sparrow out of its archives, but it has apparently consigned to the memory hole the long history of incitement by politicians to murder white farmers. Last month a Democratic Alliance MP, Belinda Bozzoli, wrote too of the "racial references and racist asides" which littered speeches by ANC parliamentarians.

Some of this is anger, some emotion. But there is also a pattern and a purpose. Racism is supposedly something of which only whites can be guilty. Blacks by definition cannot be racist. The problem goes further than double standards and sophistry, however. The Penny Sparrows of this world are individuals without power or political agendas.

The ANC, on the other hand, has both. Part of its agenda is to advance the nationalist and socialist aims set out in its plans for a "national democratic revolution", sometimes referred to as "radical economic transformation". Demonisation of whites is part of this agenda, paving the way for more discriminatory and confiscatory legislation. Many commentators dismiss this as "populism". It is not. It is rooted in ideology.

The self-styled "anti-racism network", which supposedly embraces 60 organisations spearheaded by the Ahmed Kathrada and Nelson Mandela foundations, wants to organise all sectors of society "into a united front against racism". Anti-racism week was supposedly the beginning of a "more focused countrywide approach" to tackling "racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerances." Schools, churches, businesses, and sports teams are among those being roped in.   

Before anyone else joins in this holy war, they should ask some questions. Are they being co-opted into a selective witch-hunt? Exactly what kinds of racism does the "network" plan to combat? Otherwise there are going to be a lot more useful idiots around.

* John Kane-Berman is a policy fellow at the IRR, a think-tank that promotes political and economic freedom.