Apartheid was not a crime against humanity, AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel said on Monday.
“My definition of crime against humanity is when there are mass murders like in the case of Nazi Germany,” he told Pretoria Rekord East.
He said the racial policy that saw the killing, torture and dispossession black people was not as bad as some other systems in the world.
After making the comment in a radio interview, Pretoria East Rekord contacted him, and he confirmed his words.
“I do not think that apartheid was a crime against humanity because an alternative to that was communism, under which hundreds of thousands of people were murdered.”
Kriel said he was not saying this to justify the horrors of apartheid.
He claimed that only about 700 people were murdered by the apartheid security forces.
But according to the submissions made by the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1996, 21 000 black people were killed.
AfriForum admitted that apartheid infringed on the dignity of black people, but Kriel said that did not constitute crime against humanity.
According to the United Nations, crime against humanity means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:
– Deportation or forcible transfer of population;
– Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
– Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
– Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;
– Enforced disappearance of persons;
– The crime of apartheid;
– Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.
Despite this, Kriel remained resolute that apartheid was not that bad.
AfriForum deputy president Ernst Roets said the organisation could not comment on Kriel’s remarks.
“Our view as Afriforum is that the law around crime against humanity is not applied consistently because you have systems in countries where millions of people were murdered, but those systems were never considered crimes against humanity.”