POLITICS
06/05/2018 23:31 SAST | Updated 07/05/2018 08:36 SAST

AfriForum Heavyweight Launches Attack On Academic Over Criticism About US Tour

Angry Ernst Roets quotes a Jewish author on hanging intellectuals and academics...but says he does not intend to do harm.

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AfriForum's deputy CEO Ernst Roets on Saturday launched a scathing late night attack on a prominent land reform academic, after she criticised the Afrikaner rights group's visit to the United States on social media.

A strained-looking Roets published a 31-minute monologue on YouTube in which he slammed Professor Elmien du Plessis from North West University, and concluded his video by quoting Jewish writer Victor Klemperer, who wrote that if the tables were turned after the Holocaust he "would have all the intellectuals strung up, and the professors three feet higher than the rest; they would be left hanging from the lamp posts for as long as was compatible with hygiene."

In the video the AfriForum leader identifies Du Plessis as "an intellectual, professor and academic" and later refers to her as "a so-called progressive professor". Du Plessis specialises in land reform and property law.

Roets declined to explain or contextualise the Klemperer quote when contacted by HuffPost for clarification. However, he said: "How about a report on how intellectuals and media elites attribute statements to AfriForum that we never made and then attack those straw men in public? Or a report about the death threats we receive? Or a report about the merit in our campaign to declare farm murders a priority crime?"

Du Plessis, in a thread which was posted on Twitter on Saturday, calls AfriForum's U.S. junket "misleading". She cites the organisation's own statistics and says it does not support the "en masse" torture of white people by black people. She also argues that there isn't sufficient evidence that farm attacks are politically or racially motivated and states that crime is a national problem.

Read Du Plessis' full thread here.

Roets and Kallie Kriel, AfriForum's CEO, are in the U.S. to lobby support for their positions on land reform and farm attacks and have declined to confirm which groups, individuals or media outlets they are meeting. The issues AfriForum is raising however have recently been highlighted by InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and prominent right wing commentator Ann Coulter.

Roets, after quoting Klemperer, sitting alone in a darkened hotel room in Washington D.C. and seemingly addressing Du Plessis, says: "Of course, we have no intention to harm...anyone. We have no intention to harm you for making these statements. We don't even have any intention to debate you."

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Ernst Roets: "Of course, we have no intention to harm...anyone. We have no intention to harm you for making these statements. We don't even have any intention to debate you."

He adds the only reason he chooses to respond to Du Plessis is because he wants to ensure that people aren't misled by hatred and bigotry. "We are not only being attacked and killed...we are being tortured...we will not accept this as normal, and...we will not stand by as spectators in a game in which we are murdered while you are having philosophical discussions with Max du Preez and some of your friends."

Roets, who attacked various media and journalists who questioned AfriForum's approach to their international awareness campaigns, accused Du Plessis of "sitting in an air-conditioned office" while engaging in philosophical discussions "over cheese and wine" and ridiculing victims of crime. He also read through a list of victims of rural crime and gave graphic detail of injuries some victims had suffered.

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Du Plessis, he said, is a desperate "post-modern academic" whose facts are unable to support her political motives.

Roets attempted to dispute all of Du Plessis' claims, saying that the media tends to report on white on black violence 16 times more than black on white violence. He was especially critical of the "English" media, saying its coverage of events like Coligny and the coffin case (both incidents where white men perpetrated violence against black people) is disproportionate to the coverage about farm murders.

"Black people make up 100% of farm murderers in South Africa...100% are black males. In 2016 and 2017 there were more than a thousand farm attacks...(out of that) there were 16 incidents of violence committed by white people on farms..." Roets argues.

He followed up his YouTube posting with a Tweet in which he said Du Plessis gave the legal and academic profession "a bad name". It is unclear when Roets and Kriel will return to South Africa.