Freedom Front Plus (FF+) party leader Pieter Groenewald has ascribed his party’s enormous growth in these elections to “minority groups such as the Afrikaners” being blamed for everything that’s going wrong in the country.
Groenewald has been unashamed in his assertions that Afrikaners are “tired of taking the blame”, and in an interview in the Rapport, Groenewald explains, “Do you know what? We’ve always wanted to build this country. But now the ANC government comes and blames me for everything that’s gone wrong.”
The FF+ scored a massive 414,864 votes for 2.38 percent of the total ballot and ten seats in parliament, a fact that Groenewald says is entirely down to DA voters who have had enough.
“And now people, yes DA voters, are coming to the fore and saying, ‘Me and my forefathers helped build this country, why should I take a hiding?’ and then they went and put their crosses next to the FF+,” he said.
This seems to run contrary to what FF+ national head of elections and strategy, Wouter Wessels, told Breakfast with Bongani Bingwa on 702 on Thursday when he said that it wasn’t true the party was only for conservative white people.
“I think that myth that is out there that we are an exclusive conservative party, and a party of the past it is starting to change, and this campaign has proven that. Since 2013 we’ve made inroads to actually change the perception of the party,” he said at the time.
Wessels had also hoped to link the party’s success with their stance against the expropriation of land claiming that people of all races are against it.
“We have managed to get our voter to the voting stations yesterday and managed to attract more voters with our campaign. With a few seats, we did a lot and we were an effective opposition party. We put our policy stances there and we are not wishy-washy,” Wessels said.
“If you go and look at our manifesto, the FF Plus is a party that provides solutions for a better future, not a better past. A better future for all South Africans, creating a society where there’s equal rights and opportunities for all South Africans and that is our point of departure,” Wessels said.
Groenewald’s stance was less broad-minded, however, as he has attributed two specific incidents to the migration of conservative white voters from the DA to the FF+. The first of these is the case of Ashwin Willemse on Supersport where he claims “the DA immediately played the race card, while the FF+ … asked for facts to first be ascertained”.
The other incident he says that led to the mass exodus from the DA was the case of teacher Elana Barkhuizen in Schweizer-Reneke in which a DA youth leader shared the photo and DA leader Mmusi Maimane’s response was “to support him and not repudiate him”.
“People were almost too afraid to be Afrikaaners,” Groenewald said, adding, “Max du Preez and Ruda Landman at one stage said they resign from the Afrikaner nation. Resign from whom? I don’t know, because you are what you are,” Groenewald said.