NEWS

AfriForum Says Charges Of Hate Speech And Incitement To Commit Violence Do Not Only Target Black Social Media Users

"As far as we can determine, there's at least one white person on the list."

29/06/2017 14:21 SAST | Updated 29/06/2017 15:03 SAST
Herman Verwey/Beeld/Gallo
Deputy CEO of AfriForum Ernst Roets.

It is not true that there are only black people on AfriForum's list of people who are being charged with hate speech and incitement to violence on social media.

This is what the Deputy CEO of the Afrikaner rights organisation, Ernst Roets, told HuffPost SA on Thursday morning. Roets said that while the vast majority are black people, not all of them were.

"As far as we can determine, there's at least one person who is white," he said.

After looking through the list provided to us by AfriForum, HuffPost SA was able to identify one man who could be white. The man has been identified only by his social media name Trotse Boer! and the Twitter handle @martin_57621, which appears to have been deleted.

AfriForum

Roets said AfriForum encouraged anyone who witnessed cases of hate speech and incitement to commit violence to submit their claims to them.

The process started last year when the organisation was inundated with e-mails, WhatsApp messages and complaints via their other social media platforms from people who witnessed users abusing their social media. AfriForum decided to establish a complaints portal so all these issues could be channelled through one medium.

"We literally received hundreds of complaints, more than 500 and we went through them one by one," Roets said.

Roets said after going through all the complaints they decided on which ones were criminal and this is how they came to the 100 people whose names are now with the South African Police Services (SAPS), in Lyttelton, Tshwane.

In a media statement, Roets said the affidavits were "prepared with the assistance of the SAPS and criminal law expert Dr Llewellyn Curlewis.

"We are concerned about the intensity of some of the messages and screenshots that we received. Unlike other cases that received significant attention in the media and which revolved mostly around racist slurs, many of the screenshots that we received contain calls to arms and requests or calls to kill or harm people. We are worried that, despite their more severe nature, these cases are not dealt with or condemned in the same manner," Roets said in the statement.

In The Daily Vox, Roets said they were also working with the Hawks and the cyber crime unit to track down people who deactivated their accounts.

"Even if you decide to deactivate your social media account, the Hawks and the cyber crimes unit will be able to track you down. We also decided to make the names public because we wanted to name and shame these people," he told The Daily Vox.

Roets said he got the impression that the SAPS is committed to figuring out how to go about investigating each case fully. The process will take months.