Black First Land First (BLF) has reacted with rage to AfriForum’s announcement that they will be helping the two Coligny farmworkers convicted of murdering Matlhomola Mosweu, reportedly over a sunflower, appeal their sentences.
Following the judge handing Phillip Schutte 23 years in jail for the 2017 murder and Pieter Doorewaard being given 18 years at the North West High Court on Wednesday, the lobby group said it would be helping with the appeal.
This is not the first time they’ve announced their intention of doing so, with the organisation having said previously that the appeal will be handled by prominent advocate Barry Roux, best known for having defended Oscar Pistorius after he killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
“Advocate Barry Roux has indicated that he will handle the appeal process,” said CEO Kallie Kriel in January, adding that this would only begin following sentencing.
This move will likely see Roux joining forces with Advocate Gerrie Nel, his nemesis during the Pistorius trial and now the head of AfriForum’s prosecutions unit.
It will also likely cause outrage, with BLF leading the pack with a statement on Friday titled “BLF declares AfriForum the enemy of black people”.
“The racist AfriForum has no right to exist. The group of right-wingers have insulted the dignity of the black majority enough. Now the group, which the white owned media calls a ‘civil rights’ movement, is protecting murderers. White farmers murder blacks with the knowledge that AfriForum will use the money it stole from black people through land theft to defend these murderers,” the statement continues.
“Matlhomola Mosweu was just a child. He was murdered in cold blood for fun by these racists. Now AfriForum has decided to hire lawyers to make sure these murderers are not held accountable. This is a declaration of war on black people”.
Questions have been asked surrounding the testimony of the trial’s sole witness, Bonakele Pakisi.
Rapport revealed in January it had heard a recording in which Pakisi said he hadn’t been telling the truth when he testified that Doorewaard and Phillip Schutte had murdered 16-year-old Matlhomola Moshoeu in April 2017.
The next day, however, Pakisi told the Sowetan he was actually forced to change his testimony and that the recording was allegedly gained through intimidation by being shown a firearm and being forced to read an already prepared statement.
The BLF statement then turns its attention to some of AfriForum’s past adventures, such as when Kriel said apartheid did not fit his “definition of [a] crime against humanity“, as well as the group’s overseas trips, which they say are to raise awareness about farm murders in SA but which BLF calls “a global economic terrorism campaign”
“The truth is that white farmers continue to murder blacks with impunity in South Africa,” the statement says.
The statement also says AfriForum “proudly and arrogantly displays the apartheid flag”. The organisation has told IOL that they don’t use the flag themselves, but did sign on as a “reluctant respondent” in a case, in a bid to stop the flag being banned.
“Enough is enough. From now on, Black First Land First (BLF) will treat AfriForum as a criminal racist organization which has declared war on blacks. AfriForum is defending vicious racist criminals found guilty by a court of law for various serious crimes including murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft, and pointing a firearm,” the statement concludes.
The animosity between the party and the lobby group goes both ways. AfriForum took BLF leader Andile Mngxitama to the equality court after he called for five white people to be murdered for every black person at a Potchefstroom rally, a statement he later claimed was in “self-defence”.
Mngxitama tweeted that AfriForum had succeeded in having BLF’s bank account frozen at the beginning of the month, but it later emerged that he was confusing the group with another, lesser-known Afrikaner group called Sakeliga, who describe themselves as an “independent business community” and won a cost order against BLF last year.
The Citizen reached out to AfriForum for comment but they had not yet responded at the time of publication.