NEWS
08/05/2018 05:53 SAST | Updated 08/05/2018 08:04 SAST

Professor Threatened After AfriForum Criticism: 'Don't Get Too Comfortable, You're Next'

Elmien du Plessis was the target of an angry 31-minute YouTube video posted by AfriForum leader Ernst Roets. She is now being threatened.

AFP/Getty Images
Members of the South African civil society organisation AfriForum and other civil organisation members prepare to march to the Union Buildings to raise awareness on farm attacks on November 25, 2017 in Pretoria, South Africa.

Professor Elmien du Plessis, the North-West University academic who criticised the Afrikaner rights group AfriForum's visit to the U.S., received anonymous threats on Monday, including a telephone call warning her that she's "next".

Her mother's and sisters' details were also widely circulated on social media and seemingly published on AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets' Facebook page, with one person saying Du Plessis' mother is too embarrassed to show her face, that they are "family of Satan's child" and must all "burn in hell". These messages were later removed, presumably by Roets.

YouTube
Ernst Roets, AfriForum deputy CEO, in his 31-minute long monologue attacking Professor Elmien du Plessis because of her critcism of the organisation's awareness tour to the United States.

One anonymous message sent to Du Plessis — in Afrikaans — referred to a picture of her three children and read that it is clear why she is a "liberal arse-licker". An anonymous caller also told her: "Don't get too comfortable, you're next," before hanging up.

The threats came after a late-night YouTube post by Roets on Saturday night attacking Du Plessis for her criticism of AfriForum's U.S. visit. Roets concluded his 31-minute long monologue 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."

Facebook
One "Jacobus Balsak" says to Professor Elmien du Plessis in Afrikaans that after seeing a picture she posted on March 7 it is clear why she is a "liberal arse-licker"

Roets on Sunday night declined to clarify to HuffPost what the context of the quote was but said in the video: "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."

Du Plessis said the threats and circulation of personal details of her mother and sisters were "disturbing" but that she remains steadfast in her convictions. "The anonymous phone call was from a number that isn't traceable. He also hung up before I could ask him who he was. It is however unacceptable to threaten somebody because of what they try to argue in a rational and sensible manner," she told HuffPost. She is considering asking the police to investigate the threats to her family.

She was also accused of being a "hanskakie", an Afrikaans term for traitor which dates from the South African War and loosely translates as "tame Brit".

One "Jacobus Balsak" sent her a message on Facebook saying a picture taken on March 7 — which is a picture of her three children — shows why she is a "liberal arse-licker" and adding he would like to see how her "ANC friends comes to take the white man's land" without paying for it. He says he hopes Du Plessis has her running shoes on her "paws" because she will have to run back to Central Africa seeing as she does not belong in South Africa.

She was also accused of being a "hanskakie", an Afrikaans term for traitor which dates from the South African War and loosely translates as "tame Brit".

Roets, when contacted by HuffPost for comment, did not answer a direct question about his intent with the Klemperer quote or about any possible consequences it may have. He also did not say whether he would actively discourage his supporters from making threats.

He did however accuse HuffPost of campaigning against AfriForum and said he, too, had received death threats because of it.

He added that his organisation had "always" been opposed to all forms of racism and violence and that they removed threats of violence published on their social media pages. Roets said AfriForum "unequivocally" condemned threats of violence against any person. He however did not refer to Du Plessis directly or by name.