AfriForum: Dirco representative ‘abused’ forum

Image: Supplied.

Image: Supplied.

A South African government representative allegedly verbally attacked AfriForum at the United Nations Human Rights Commission Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, the organisation said on Wednesday.

The verbal attack occurred before the closing of the annual session of the forum, and was delivered by a international relations and cooperation department official, deputy CEO Alana Bailey said in a statement.

The representative “abused the platform” created by the forum to vehemently attack AfriForum and other organisations that had addressed the forum on the decay of South Africa’s democracy, and issues such as farm murders and crime.

Bailey said the official started her address by “criticising the UN for not accrediting the participants in the forum’s activities with more care”.

The official apparently referred to AfriForum and farmers organisation TAU SA as fringe organisations and the FF Plus as a remnant of the apartheid years.

The official also allegedly attacked the organisations for accusing government of running a genocide programme against white farmers.

Bailey said no South Africans had made such accusations, but they did address government’s reluctance to declare farm attacks a priority crime in their presentation.

“This vehement reaction underlines the ruling party’s discomfort with the exposure of their failures in the international arena,” she said.

“It also proves why it is essential that organisations from civil society such as AfriForum should participate in activities like this forum’s annual sessions.”

Bailey said the international community was not unaware of the failures of the ruling party.

Further, a diplomat’s personal attack against civil societies — who had made well-researched presentations — would “not deflect attention of informed members of the international community from reality”.

“The irony of the representative’s claims to democratic values and rights, as opposed to her calls for civil society to be denied participation in the activities of the forum, will not escape them either,” she said.

“It is even ironic that the attack was launched during a session with the theme of ‘building peace and managing diversity’, while she was trying to defend government’s vision of a single identity.”

The reopening of the land claims process was also among the issues presented to the forum.

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder said the forum’s theme for the year was “Preventing and addressing violence and atrocities targeted against minorities”.

“It therefore joins up perfectly with the message of the FF Plus about the fate of minorities in South Africa,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.


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