My exposé of the false Verwoerd advert (Part 4 in the series – Verwoerd, Malan & a Case of Aggravated Assault)

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This contribution is the last of four posts detailing incidents within two weeks, which impacted on my life. In it, I will deal with an advert for the Apartheid Museum produced by the agency TBWA Hunt Lascaris, which was subsequently found to contain fake clips attributed to Donald Trump and Hendrik Verwoerd.

The advert won a Loerie award for the agency over the weekend of  18 and 19 August 2018, which was greatly celebrated by all with photos of the event on the Facebook page of TBWA.

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In the ad, “Past and Present,” purported statements by Verwoerd and Trump are placed in such a way as to show similar attitudes by the men.

  • Clip 1: Verwoerd starts: “By now, every one of us has seen practically that blacks cannot rule themselves.”
  • Clip 2: Trump: “They are bringing drugs, they are bringing crime, they are rapists…”
  • Clip 3: Verwoerd: “Give them guns, and they will kill each other. Let us all accept that the black man is a symbol of mental inferiority, laziness…”
  • Clip 4: Trump: “Laziness is a trait in blacks, it really is, I believe that.”
  • Clip 5: Verwoerd: “Blacks and whites need to adopt and develop divorced from each other.”
  • Clip 6: Trump: “We need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly…”
  • Clip 7: Verwoerd: “That is all that the word apartheid means.”

The advert was acclaimed by all and people were urged to listen to it. Bruce Whitfield, a financial journalist, and presenter of the “The Money Show” on 702 and CapeTalk, and columnist and writer for the Sunday Times and Business Times, on 22 August 2018 urged people to listen to it. He called it an extraordinary piece of advertising, one of the greatest adverts ever and remarked that it would make your blood boil (listen to the clip below of this discussion on his show).

On the same day Graeme Codrington, a public figure, Minister and futurist, in his enthusiasm to alert people about the advert, posted the following on his Facebook page:

“The Apartheid Museum has a chilling radio advert that puts the words of South African Prime Minister from the 1960s, HF Verwoerd alongside those of American President, Donald Trump. I added some images to it.

I grew up in apartheid South Africa, and that’s why Donald Trump scares me so much. I know what evil of this kind looks like, and I can see it in America now. But don’t take my words for it. Just listen…”

As per his post, he went as far as creating a YouTube video featuring the advert (see below).

I viewed the YouTube video and commented on his timeline that I’m not sure that quoting bits without context is a good thing. He agreed that quoting things out of context is not a good thing but argued that quoting things that summarise a viewpoint is precisely what a quote is for. He asked whether I do think any particular bits of the quotes in this advert were out of context – and if so, which ones? I replied that as a Minister Codrinton must know how important it is not to quote or reference a random text from the Bible without looking at the context within which it was said as well as considering the sentence that goes before the quoted part as well as the sentence that follows. The same goes for the paragraph before and the paragraph after that. I remarked that I think that this is a good rule to also follow in life in general namely that any quote must be seen in the context and time it was said or written.

I noted at the time that some people started to question some of the clips attributed to Donald Trump including a Facebook friend Mpiyakhe Dhlamini. It turned out that clip 4 above comes from the 1991 book “Trumped,” written by a former Trump Plaza executive, who claimed that Trump once said that “laziness is a trait in blacks, but that this was never proven.

Did Trump Say ‘Laziness Is a Trait in Blacks; No Black President Again Any Time Soon’?

Graeme Codrington updated his original Facebook post with the following note:

“It appears that one of the audio clips attributed to Trump in the Museum’s advert is actually not original audio. The quote about blacks being lazy comes from a book written in 1990, and no known audio is available.”

I decided to listen to the clips attributed to Verwoerd again as some of them sounded not like something he would have said although many people might believe otherwise. I did a simple Google search and could only link two of the four clips attributed to Verwoerd to him (clips 5 and 7 above which I will explain later in fact was part of a single sentence). The other two clips (clips 1 and 4 above) which contain offensive phrases, I could only link to a hoax speech falsely attributed to PW Botha as part of his failed 1985 Rubicon speech.

PW Botha – Hoax 1985 speech

I alerted Graeme Codrington to this, and he undertook to immediately take this up with Bruce Whitfield who on his 702 show of 23 August 2018 interviewed him as well as Andrew Human, the CEO of the Loerie Awards and Andy Rice, a branding and advertising expert (listen to the clip below for the discussion).

The same evening “The Business Insider” featured an article Shock over fake Trump and Verwoerd quotes in award-winning Apartheid Museum ad on the matter. The article stated that the fake quotes were unearthed by a listener to The Money Show with Bruce Whitfield on 702, the futurist Graeme Codrington. This is of course not true as it was me we unearthed the fake Verwoerd quotes and who alerted Codrington to it, and he to his credit, immediately took it up with Bruce Whitfield. The matter was also reported on the 702 website that same evening in an article Loerie winning Apartheid Museum ad comparing Trump and Verwoerd is ‘fake news’.

Graeme Codrington also posted on Facebook that same evening again about the matter, but provided no acknowledgment to Mpiyakhe Dhlamini or me for bringing the matter to his attention. Some people called him out for this, and he promised to do so fully once he has heard from everybody.

He went on to say that that the advert had three sections to it and that its only middle section where Verwoerd and Trump call black people lazy that is under review and that the other two sections are not. I reminded him that it does not help to be limited with the truth. I reminded him that there are four clips attributed to Verwoerd and three for Trump and further commented on his timeline as follows:

“Clip one of Verwoerd I could also only link to the hoax speech attributed to PW Botha and the same goes for clip three. Clips five and six [clip 7 quoted above] are in reality one sentence and the one that I managed to link directly to Verwoerd and that if combined reads as follows: “Blacks and whites need to adopt and develop divorced from each other, that is all that the word apartheid means.” [NOTE – More about this paragraph later]

Interesting TBWA even got this one wrong because what Verwoerd in fact said is “…. that both adopt a development divorced from each other. That is all that the word apartheid means.” Why they had to change what he said, raises serious questions as to the credibility of TBWA and the Apartheid Museum.

Here is FYI the full text of what Verwoerd said in this regard at the time namely in 1950 thus a full eight years before he became Prime Minister :

“My point is this that, if mixed development is to be the policy of the future of South Africa, it will lead to the most terrific clash of interests imaginable. The endeavours and desires of the Bantu and the endeavours and objectives of all Europeans will be antagonistic. Such a clash can only bring unhappiness and misery to both. Both Bantu and European must, therefore, consider in good time how this misery can be averted from themselves and from their descendants.

They must find a plan to provide the two population groups with opportunities for the full development of their respective powers and ambitions without coming into conflict. The only possible way out is the second alternative, namely, that both adopt a development divorced from each other. That is all that the word apartheid means.”

Whereas clips one and three which is in question would be racist if Verwoerd ever said it, the combined clips 5 and 7 and putting them in the full context of what he said as quoted above, illustrate an honest, albeit misguided concern that we know now with the benefit of hindsight, for the future of both Black and White and their common wellbeing. I see nothing racist in this statement given the context and timeframe when it was said.

Why TBWA had to split what Verwoerd said above into two is questionable, but I guess it suited the narrative they tried to portray in linking two historical figures fifty years apart.

Graeme to say therefore that it’s only the middle section that is in doubt is not factually correct, and I trust you will also correct this.”

Codrington thanked me for the further clarity and promised to pass this on to the people who are investigating the matter.

On 24 August 2018 the matter was reported in the mainstream media in a number of articles:

Award-winning Trump-vs-Verwoerd Apartheid Museum advert is ‘possibly misleading’, SA’s advertising authority says

7 quotes in the Trump-Verwoerd Apartheid Museum radio spot appear to be fake, ad agency admits

#Loeries2018 controversy over TBWA’s Apartheid Museum ad

TBWA subsequently issued the following statement putting their side of the story:

“TBWA Hunt Lascaris confirms that it inadvertently took some of the sources believed to be trustworthy and used them in its recent award-winning “Past and Present” campaign at face value and should have dug deeper.

The company’s internal investigations in which all sources were submitted for further verification revealed that 7 of the 27 quotes it used in the campaign appear to be in question as to their true authenticity.

The campaign, which is no longer on the airwaves, was a three-part series for the Apartheid Museum which compared the quotes of famous people in history. The campaign juxtaposing Verwoerd and Trump won an award at The Loeries Awards a week ago.

The campaign drew attention to a message which remains highly relevant – the uncannily similar quotes made by apartheid architect Dr. HF Verwoerd and US President Donald Trump.

“We always apply in-depth research and fact-checking in all our work, and it was certainly never our intention to attribute the wrong quotes to anyone. For that, we unreservedly apologise. But the lesson is certainly that even trusted sources need to be questioned,” says TBWA CEO Sean Donovan.

The four questionable sources were from a purported speech, a book which is currently in circulation and a major international newspaper specifically the New York Times.

“We certainly apologise for taking those sources at face value and had no malicious intent to misrepresent the facts. We trusted them and had no reason to doubt that the sentiments being expressed were not those of either Verwoerd or Trump,” he says.

TBWA is in communication with The Loeries and has provided full details of their investigation. As a proactive measure and to ensure the integrity of the Apartheid Museum, the agency has pulled the campaign and will be handing the award back.”

TBWA was also given an opportunity to, on a subsequent show of Money Matters, explain what happened to Bruce Whitfield (the following is a clip of that discussion).

What I find amazing is that TBWA can state that what happened was an honest mistake on their part and then place the blame on their sources. What happened to quality control of adverts produced by the agency? If I could with a simple Google search, establish within one minute that some of the clips attributed to Verwoerd were false, why could they not do the same? It raises serious questions about the standards of advertising in South Africa and the Group CEO of TBWA, Sean Donovan, certainly still has a case to answer for despite his explanation. As I pointed out above, they did not just use false clips but also only parts of a full sentence of Verwoerd and then split it into two to suit their narrative.

TBWA subsequently returned the Loerie Award (yet the photos of their team receiving the award are still appearing on their Facebook page!) and also absolved the Apartheid Museum from any blame although the Museum signed-off on the advert and are therefore not totally blameless. On their side, the Apartheid Museum said that they forgave the agency and expressed their willingness to continue their relationship with the agency who offered to correct the mistakes.

TBWA Hunt Lascaris gives back Loeries Award for deceitful Apartheid Museum ad

Apartheid museum ‘forgives’ ad agency for ‘fake news advert’

Bruce Whitfield wrote another article Sex, lies, audiotape, and that fake Apartheid Museum radio ad on the matter that appeared in The Business Insider on 26 August 2018. In the article he among other things wrote as follows:

Futurist Graeme Codrington is working to improve the quality of information on the internet and was among the scores of listeners to my weekday Money Show to draw attention to the fact that there were issues with the integrity of the content.

 “Clip one of Verwoerd I could only link to the hoax speech attributed to PW Botha and the same goes for clip three. Clips five and six are in reality one sentence and the one that I managed to link directly to Verwoerd and that if combined reads as follows: “Blacks and whites need to adopt and develop divorced from each other, that is all that the word apartheid means.”

The second paragraph quoted above is placed in italics and is thus attributed to Graeme Codrington when in fact it is exactly what I wrote word for word on his Facebook timeline on 23 August 2018 (see above). Codrington explained that Bruce Whitfield has picked up my explanation of the problems with the advert and used them without attribution and that he will contact him and ask him to do so.

I have alerted Bruce Whitfield about this mistake on Twitter a number of times, but he is yet to correct it in any form or matter unless he has done so on any of his subsequent Money Matters show on 702 which I would not have picked up. His unwillingness to do so is baffling to me as is this whole sordid incident with the fake Apartheid Museum advert, and it makes me wonder about the honesty and integrity of journalists and the standard of journalism in South Africa but also that of advertising agencies such as TBWA. It seems like our past before 1994, bad as it was, is fair game for misrepresentation just like what has happened during the current ‘expropriation without compensation’ debate. Perhaps the following tweet of the former leader of the opposition, Tony Leon, sums the matter up the best.

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Ps: On 24 August 2018 Graeme Codrington on a Facebook post acknowledged Mpiyakhe Dhlamini and me for our role played in the incident which I thanked him for.

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Parts 1 and 3 was about the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island,” the credibility of one of the book’s authors, Mark Minnie and an interview Alec Hogg conducted with the other author, Chris Steyn.

Verwoerd, Malan & a case of Aggravated Assault – Part 1 (Malan & the Boys of Bird Island)

Chris Steyn & the podcast interview by Alec Hogg (Part 3 in the series – Verwoerd, Malan & a Case of Aggravated Assault)

In Part 2, I wrote about a case of aggravated assault on people dear to me and what it says about South Africa as a nation still having to make peace with itself.

A case of Aggravated Assault & the State of our Nation (Part 2 in the series – Verwoerd, Malan & a Case of Aggravated Assault)

Chris Steyn & the podcast interview by Alec Hogg (Part 3 in the series – Verwoerd, Malan & a Case of Aggravated Assault)

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This contribution is the third of four posts detailing incidents within two weeks, which impacted on my life. Part 1 was about the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island” and the credibility of one of the book’s authors, Mark Minnie.

Verwoerd, Malan & a case of Aggravated Assault – Part 1 (Malan & the Boys of Bird Island)

In Part 2, I wrote about a case of aggravated assault on people dear to me and what it says about South Africa as a nation still having to make peace with itself.

A case of Aggravated Assault & the State of our Nation (Part 2 in the series – Verwoerd, Malan & a Case of Aggravated Assault)

My third and last planned post was to be about the false clips attributed to Trump and Verwoerd in an award-winning Apartheid Museum advert and my role in exposing the matter. However, subsequent developments made me first to write again about the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island.” The first of these was a podcast of Alec Hogg interviewing one of the authors of the book, Chris Steyn, which I listened to and which raised some red flags and the second a series of exchanges on News24 between Chris Steyn and the celebrated investigative journalist, Jacques Pauw:

Mark Minnie: A sloppy, negligent and careless policeman

Minnie would have charged Pauw with ‘sloppy journalism’

Jacques Pauw: Chris Steyn deceitful when accusing me of sloppy journalism

In my first post on the Book, I did not want to delve further into Mark Minnie’s work as a policeman other than to question his credibility based on what he wrote about in one specific chapter in the book. I did so out of respect for his grieving family, but what Jacques Pauw observed in his first News24 article above, I also had on my mind at the time. What struck me particularly was his drinking habits while on duty and also off-duty, and this left me puzzled. That he did not have an easy life is evident from reading the book, but his brazenness in writing about his abuse of alcohol in the book does not make for good reading, in addition to his sloppy police work as highlighted by Jacques Pauw.

Back then to the Alec Hogg podcast. I always respected Alec as a financial journalist. His interview with Chris Steyn, on his podcast Rational Perspective , however, left me with more questions than answers. He mentioned that he worked with Steyn at the Rand Daily Mail and that he has the greatest respect for her as a fearless journalist that always made exposing the truth her only priority.

Hogg starts off the podcast saying that Chris Steyn has been the victim of a sustained attack by some Afrikanerdom’s formerly powerful figures including a former Apartheid police general who said she and Minnie made it all up. He is, of course, referring General Johan van der Merwe who in the Rapport pointed out some factual errors in the book which hardly qualifies as an attack on Steyn. Van der Merwe in his article also challenged Steyn to undergo a polygraph test with him in search of the truth. The General subsequently underwent the lie detector polygraph test and passed it regarding what he knew or did not know about what is alleged in the Book. It’s not clear if Steyn has agreed to undergo a similar lie detector test.

Leuen toets kan Minnie se feite verifieer

Oud-Polisiekommisaris doen poligraaf toets oor ‘Bird Island’ bewerings

Back in 2006, Chris Steyn wrote a book called “Published and be Damned.” In the book, she devoted a whole chapter to the Allen/Wiley saga of 1987. She, however, makes no mention of Magnus Malan or a third unnamed former Minister in this book. In her podcast interview with Alec Hogg, she, however, confirmed that the brother of Dave Allen, Jeff Alan who also worked at the Rand Daily Mail, already told her about the “connections with the very powerful people” at the time of Wiley’s death in 1987.

One can only assume that this refers to Wiley, Malan and the third unnamed former Minister. If it were only Wiley at the time, it would not have been powerful people but connections with a powerful person, namely Wiley. The question, therefore, arises why did she then not name Magnus Malan and the unnamed third former Minister in her 2006 book? She could not have feared censorship as the Constitution guarantees freedom of speech.

She also mentions that at the time of writing her 2006 book she had further corroboration of the facts from additional sources, including from former security branch policemen. Surely they would also have known of Magnus Malan’s involvement and that of the third unnamed Minister if it, in fact, happened as alleged, and would have mentioned it to Steyn. Again the question arises, why did she then not name them in her 2006 book? This now also brings the credibility of Minnie’s co-author, Chris Steyn into serious question.

According to Chris Steyn those people that don’t want to believe the story in the Bird Island book, are people who can’t bring themselves to believe that the poster boy of Apartheid Magnus Malan could do what he allegedly did (Malan was indeed a powerful figure of the National Party in the 1980’s as he was responsible for a key portfolio but I would hardly call him the poster boy of Apartheid). She goes on to say that its people that don’t necessarily want to defend a person but rather an ideology and also Afrikaners because these allegations are damaging to Afrikaners and the previous government. She then says that she finds it odd that such people are not willing to defend Wiley and asks if it is because he is English speaking?

As an Afrikaans speaking South African, I find her arguments above insulting in the extreme. Why, if it is, in fact, true that Malan and the unnamed Minister did what she and Minnie allege in the Book, would it be damaging to all Afrikaners? Are we now all guilty by association just because of being Afrikaans speaking? Why also would we be defending an outdated ideology when by far the majority of Afrikaners are law-abiding citizens of the new South Africa.

As to why not questioning Wiley it is very simple, the reports of his possible involvement surfaced in the late 1980’s already in the mainstream media and are therefore known to many, whereas the allegations against Malan and the third unnamed Minister surfaced now only and that nearly 30 years after the events which raises all sorts of questions. Its got nothing to do with language Me. Steyn but simply put valid questions as to what is now alleged in the Book and the timing thereof.

Chris Steyn then goes on to talk about the untimely death of Mark Minnie. She accepts that it was suicide, but wait for it, try and make a case that he was somehow forced to take his own life. She says that in her mind it was remote murder and that it’s not that difficult to drive somebody to suicide – “……a simple call from a disposable telephone, Mark you have until Monday morning 10 o’clock, you know what to do and if you don’t the following will happen…..”.

So here you are, one of the authors of a controversial Book that shockingly exposes three former National party Ministers to be involved in a pedophile ring. You get the call as alleged by Chris Steyn with the accompanying threat.  What would you do? Commit suicide as instructed and at the same time say nothing about the threats in your two suicide notes or rather go to the nearest police station, report the extortion, call for police protection and then call a press conference with your publisher and your other author present at which you mention that you have been threatened and the circumstances involved, thereby gaining acres of sympathy for your cause and a nationwide search for the dubious characters that have threatened you and your family? I know what I would have done in the circumstances.

I find it worrying that Alec Hogg did not once challenge Chris Steyn about some of the things she said in the podcast interview. As I said I have always had the utmost respect for him, but as Chris Steyn accused Jacques Pauw, this smacks of sloppy journalism. For example, why did she not mention Magnus Malan and the unnamed third Minister in her 2006 book if she knew about their alleged involvement from 1987 onwards already? Why is she seemingly so intolerant of Afrikaners? Does she have any proof of her assertion that Minnie was driven to suicide?

Having said that, I don’t deny that something was amiss in Port Elizabeth in the late 1980’s and that Allen, and possibly even Wiley had a case to answer for. Whether their activities, however, involved other further former National Party Ministers must in my view, still be proven. However, I’m open to being convinced otherwise by hard facts and not mere hearsay or speculation.

A case of Aggravated Assault & the State of our Nation (Part 2 in the series – Verwoerd, Malan & a Case of Aggravated Assault)

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This is the second of three posts detailing incidents within two weeks, which had a dramatic impact on my life. Part 1 was about the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island” and a chapter in it that brings the credibility of one of the book’s authors, Mark Minnie, into question.

Verwoerd, Malan & a case of Aggravated Assault – Part 1 (Malan & the Boys of Bird Island)

In Part 2 I write about a case of aggravated assault on people dear to me and what it says about South Africa as nation still having to fully make peace with itself.

In the very early hours of Wednesday 15 August 2018, I received a call from the daughter of my Stepmother (70 years old), who lives next to them in an apartment in Port Edward, together with my Dad (76 years old). “Oupa and Ouma were attacked, and it does not look good, there is blood everywhere. We are waiting for the ambulance”. We rushed from Durban to Port Shepstone Hospital where I found my dad lying on a stretcher covered in blood. My Stepmother was still in Port Edward waiting for a transfer to Port Shepstone.

It turned out that they were attacked and severely assaulted for two hours by two youngers who barely stole anything of worth. My Dad’s skull was cracked after a severe beating with a rock, his jaw broken in two places, and he suffered a number of stabbed wounds. My Stepmother was similarly assaulted and traumatized.

Immediately following the event I wrote on Facebook that I never thought I would say this, but I hate this country at the Southern tip of Africa with a passion so strong that it scares me. I followed it up the next morning with the following post, wherein I tried to explain my feelings in more detail:

I’m a mess of emotions. After yesterday’s events, I woke up this morning and realized how much healing our country still needs. First of all, it struck me that almost two years ago to the date, my wife was assaulted outside of SARS in Pinetown, by two criminals. I remembered how my laatlammetjie bravely jumped on the back of one of the perpetrators and with her little female hands beaten him off my wife and how I found my wife bleeding in Pinetown’s streets in shock. An event that I have almost forgotten about, but which were pushed back in my consciousness by the shock of yesterday.

BREAKING: Grandmother viciously attacked outside Pinetown SARS

Then I think back to yesterday’s events and ask “God why my elderly father and stepmother? Surely they don’t deserve this?” My stepmother who used to operate a Black private school in Port St Johns until recently, mostly at a loss and using her own meager funding because of her love for children. How she was hurt by two youngsters, who are not much older than those that she now teaches at a different school. A brave Afrikaner woman who, in spite of what happened to her just yesterday, wanted to go back to the school to teach again today, because she did not want to let her mainly Black scholars down.

Then my thoughts drifted to those who so often claim that it’s us older Afrikaners fault that our children behave in an unbecoming manner, as children are not born with any inborn prejudices. I read my children’s and the daughter of my late sister’s heartbreaking messages (see postscripts 1, 2 and 3 for these messages) about their grandfather and yesterday’s events and ask myself, what then do I tell my children about some people who have no respect for human life and dignity? How do I convince them to still stay put and assist to make South Africa work? Then I realize this is a deeply personal matter that political and other social studies professors and analyst can analyze at wit’s end, but that its something that they do not know or understand anything about.

Then my mind jumped to my perhaps unjustified comment on Christi van der Westhuizen’s Facebook post yesterday. It was by coincidence the 1st post on my Facebook timeline that I read just after I saw my Dad bleeding and in shock, in the Port Shepstone hospital. I saw the pain and bitterness in his eyes and her “wink wink” I’m going to talk to my favorite Eusebius McKaiser on the radio this morning about white privilege, was in that moment just too much for me to handle.

Then I think of my earlier interaction with Christi about the Magnus Malan saga and how we all pursue the truth, but from different perspectives. She from a perspective that Apartheid was only evil and bad, me from a perspective that I do understand to an extent why my father and dear late mother supported the NP government at that time, namely the Afrikaner’s quest for a place they could call home and in the light of their parents and grandparents’ trans-generational trauma experienced as a result of the Anglo-Boer war.

Then I think of her wake-up call to me when she said Riaan, but PW Botha, personally called for the police file of the Bird Island case and destroyed the dossier! But just the next day I read that according to policeman Minnie’s then commander, the dossier was only about his investigation of Allen and his ties with Wiley, and then I wonder aloud, but why does the book make it out as if Magnus Malan and another unnamed previous Minister were also under investigation?

But then my thoughts go to the Minnie family and what sorrow and sadness they must experience at this moment after his apparent suicide, compared to my family where loved ones got hurt, but thank God they still live. May they find peace and answers by God’s grace in this difficult time.

Then in my further search for the truth about the Malan case, I came across a contribution from Leopold Scholtz. In it, he writes that emotion is good, but only to a point and that yes, the past must be seen through the glasses of emotion, but always in equilibrium with rationality. Then I wonder whether analysts like Christi are not so overcome by emotions when viewing our troubled past, that they sometimes lose perspective?

Then I came across an article in News24 early this morning, in which Christi correctly explains the context in which the allegations that Magnus Malan is accused of in the book, took place. I read it and realize that we all seek the truth but still judge the past from our own context and perspective. She who sees the 1980s and the dark period in our history from the perspective of that the security forces during this period was only evil. Compared with me, and what I had experienced, given my work in townships at the time, which makes me want to shout out, hokaai Christi – the ANC was not always the angels during this period, their People’s War destroyed the lives of many ordinary black families. And then I wonder if she and my perspectives about the same period of our history could ever be reconciled?

But then luckily I came across another article this morning wherein the former coloured politician Peter Marais, urges that “The Afrikaner has to leave his nonsense.” He writes about what he promised his mother on her deathbed namely “You can fight against injustice, but you do not fight the Boers because your grandfather was a Boer.” The article once again made me realize how interwoven our past and shared history are, black, brown and white. His words leave me with the hope that one-day emotion and rationality will come into full equilibrium and that we will then be able as South Africans to take hands on the path of healing and reconciliation.

(See my previous post that also dealt with our shared history and how it should unite us as a nation – Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s Death: Time to Rediscover our Common History )

Dad and Tannie, I love you very much and sorry about the hurt and pain of yesterday. Thank you very much for your contribution to our country’s well-being and future for almost 70 years, we will never forget it.”

The whole incident made me reflect deeply on the state of our nation. I’m still very very angry at what happened, and it will take a long time for things to return to normal. My Dad and Stepmother is on the way to recovery but still severely traumatized. Luckily some of those involved has been caught and will stand trial for their evil deeds. One of the main perpetrators is however still on the loose but will hopefully be arrested soon.

The incident also made me think about how crime is viewed and reported in South Africa. A case of criminality like the assault and kidnapping of a man and the act of trying to shove him into a coffin is immediately condemned as a racists incident that receives endless newspaper coverage and condemnation by all. Aggravated assaults on defenseless old people like what happened to my family, and which happens to many other victims of crime on a daily basis, barely register any mention in the mainstream or social media. I can’t but wonder what agendas are at play in the way crime is reported upon in South Africa and how some incidents are immediately seen as having racist undertones, while others with many similarities are not.

I wanted to write some more about the scourge of farm murders after having read Ernst Roet’s book, Kill the Boer. The attack on my Dad took place not on a farm but on the outskirts of Port Edward and in an area surrounded by smallholdings. I decided not to do so in this post, lest I be called out for promoting the notion of a white genocide, when all I would, in fact, have asked for is that the government and police declare farm murders and attacks a priority crime, given the high prevalence thereof.

Below is the few local newspaper reports that covered the incident involving my Dad and Stepmother:

JUST IN: Knife attack leaves Port Edward couple traumatised

Four arrested for attack on Port Edward pensioners

UPDATE: Men arrested for Port Edward pensioner attack to apply for bail

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Postscript 1: My eldest daughters Facebook post – “When will SA say ENOUGH is ENOUGH???

During ‘women’s month,’ as well as four days after my grandfather’s 76th birthday, he and his wife were subjected to a brutal and unwarranted attack by two cowardly thugs in Port Edward.

At 3.30am, these two cowards entered a fully-fenced complex, targeted my granddad and tannie (70) and thought it wise to brutally assault two old, defenseless elderly people. My grandfather, who cooperated every step of the way, was stabbed twice, his jaw broken and skull fractured. He is too old to fight back…these cowards only wanted to take his pride from him, nothing else. Tannie, who has dedicated her life to teaching poor, rural children, who will give you the last shirt off her back, also fell victim to these menaces, despite doing exactly as she was told.

When I arrived at the Port Shepstone state hospital, where my granddad was laying in a bed drenched in blood, my heart sank. We arrived in time for morning prayer. A short, black woman walks over to myself and Brendan: ‘Don’t cry dears, he’s in good hands.’ I wish I got her name; I want to thank her personally. Her words comforted me.

Moments later, a nurse puts an open needle on the dirty table. Oupa asks me to lift the backrest of the bed, but I can’t, it’s broken. I then ask for a pillow…’We don’t have pillows here.’

A male nurse walks over…he first sticks a syringe with a clean needle in Oupa; then, I hear my mother’s voice in my head. ‘Don’t you dare put that dirty needle in him,’ I find myself saying.

Poor Oupa was drenched in blood. So I asked for a wet cloth to clean him a little.

As I wiped the blood from his hands, I already said to myself ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! BLEED MY BELOVED COUNTRY, but I will never bleed for you again.

Our government is failing us…not white, black, coloured or Indian, IT IS FAILING ALL OFF US! It protects the rich, the corrupt, the murderers, the thieves, the kidnappers, and rapists. But it fails its vulnerable; women, children, the elderly and frail.

So dear SA, my beloved, beautiful country, when the rubbish of this country is done taking, and when there is nothing or no-one left to take from, remember the day I wrote this…asking you: WHEN WILL ENOUGH BE ENOUGH?!

Hours later, we’re told Oupa has to go for facial reconstructive surgery in Durban, but he will be kept overnight for observation. Two, frail, old people’s lives have been turned upside down because two good-for-nothing cowards wanted a little power trip.

Now, IS THERE ANY COUNTRY OUT THERE THAT HAS SPACE FOR 2 hardworking individuals who would love to give their daughter a fighting chance at a better future?

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH…

I can still smell his blood, even after washing my hands and having a shower. I hope I smell it until I leave, so it serves as a constant reminder of why I left SA…Bleed my beloved country.”

Postscript 2: My youngest daughters Facebook post – “I don’t even have words for what two disgusting savages have done to my amazing grandparents.  May your guilt catch up to you and eat you alive. To my family, I love you all.”

Postscript 3: The daughter of my sister’s Facebook post – “I am trying to use my words wisely, I am trying to say what I want to say without prejudice, but I am finding it very difficult, I am so angry, I am so full of hate! How does one human being do this horrible thing to another? What type of person must you be? How could these two barbaric monsters do what they did to two elderly, defenseless, good-hearted people? How do they brutally attack for hours on end and not feel a thing? How am I not supposed to feel hate and anger, how am I supposed to stay true this country that I love, how am I supposed to love and accept. People who know me, know that I have no problems with people of other religions, race, creed ( all this bullshit) that divides us. I think there is a little place under the sun for each of us to live in harmony. But today, today I cannot. My grandfather and his girlfriend were attacked and beaten and tortured by two monsters in the early hours of this morning, and for what? There wasn’t really anything of worth to steal. They went there to inflict pain and suffering. I do not want to share my world with monsters like these. And most importantly I do not want my children exposed to this sickness. Angry and hate are actually not strong enough words for what I feel. I am scaring myself because I am feeling vengeful, I wish I could hurt this low life’s like they hurt my grandparents. I am sad that it has come to this. Cry the beloved country.”

Verwoerd, Malan & a case of Aggravated Assault – Part 1 (Malan & the Boys of Bird Island)

Chris-Steyn-Mark-Minnie-The-Lost-Boys-of-Bird-Island

This post is the first of a number of planned contributions all under the heading Verwoerd, Malan and a case of Aggravated Assault detailing incidents within two weeks, which had a dramatic impact on my life.

Part 1 will deal with the book “The Lost Boys of Bird Island” and a chapter in it that brings the credibility of one of the book’s authors, Mark Minnie, into question. I immediately bought the book upon release and finished reading it within one day. The accusations made therein of the involvement of at least three National Party (NP) Ministers (one of which the authors don’t name in the book based on legal advice received but which clearly reference Barend du Plessis) are indeed serious and warrants further investigation. I, however, found it a difficult book to read in that it jumps between the two author’s input sometimes without context and mostly without dates. It further contains no bibliography or endnotes, and it is therefore not possible to independently verify the respective stories of the two authors.

Even when the authors quote sources like actual articles published in “The Huisgenoot” or “Playboy SA” these are not referenced by the authors. The book is, in my view, therefore premised mostly on hearsay. Many an anonymous source are quoted but seldom are the identity of these contributors revealed. In one particularly striking paragraph (see postscript 1 below), a matter is stated as a fact followed only a few words later with the words apparently!

Because of the above, I remain rather skeptical of the main claims made in the book, but I’m open to being convinced otherwise by hard facts. That something was amiss and that Dave Allen, and possibly even John Wiley, had a case to answer for what happened at the time is clear, but the book contains no verifiable facts that any other NP Minister were also involved.

In chapter 22 of the book, Minnie writes about a search conducted of an Inkhata Hostel, which the later chapter 24 places within the timeframe of 1988/89. Upon reading this chapter, the hair on my arms stood up because what he describes in it, I experienced first-hand in a search on an Inkhata hostel as an army camp conscript, the only problem being that this search took place in 1991 and not 1988/89.

The following is what Minnie writes in chapter 22 about the search of the Inkhata Hostel that according to the timeline of the book took place in 1988/89:

“The next evening some serious brass are hanging around the parade ground. These are genuinely high-ranking dudes – colonels and brigadiers. Castles and stars line the epaulets of their uniforms. The briefing brings everything to light, and I’m not amused.

We’re going to move into a hostel occupied by miners who support the Inkatha Freedom Party. The government uses Inkatha fighters in a clandestine way to attack ANC supporters, all in an attempt to weaken and derail the liberation movement. Money and weapons are channeled to Inkatha to assist them in destabilising their perceived ‘foe’.

Now we’re commanded to conduct a search of the compound. Why? They’re meant to be our allies, these Inkatha guys. It’s all politics, I guess. We move out in convoy style. Very impressive – until we reach the hostel. Waiting to greet us in full battle dress are more than a thousand impis, Zulu warriors armed with traditional assegais and shields. They heard that we were coming and are now demonstrating that they disapprove of our entering the compound.

It’s a Mexican stand-off. Some Inkatha leaders and our top brass begin exchanging words in no-man’s-land. Zulu warriors assume their traditional battle crouch and raise their spears, shields covering their torsos. Chanting begins. Cops are on edge, fingers on triggers. Rifles at the ready, we’re waiting for the command that will surely unleash untold bloodshed. There can be only one winner.

Eventually, the discussion between leaders comes to an end. The Inkatha guys allow us to enter the hostel. We search for hours and find nothing – no guns, not even a little bit of marijuana. All’s well that ends well. We depart, both sides happy.

What a load of bullshit, I think to myself. The Inkatha fighters knew we were coming. That’s why there was nothing to find. It was all just a show to prove to the ANC that it’s not only their compounds that get searched. A sham display that allows local politicians to score some brownie points in the outside world.”

Compare the aforementioned to the following chapter in the unfinished manuscript of a book that I started writing way back in 2008 about my experiences in the Munsieville Township outside of Krugersdorp, where I worked as Municipal Manager from 1987 to 1992:

“Doing an army camp

I was unofficially exempted from doing any army camps while working in Munsieville. The argument was that I was doing my bit by working in a township and that to call me up would serve no purpose. When receiving call-up papers for a camp, all I had to do was to defer to the Colonel of Witwatersrand Command, and he would release me officially from doing the camp.

One late Friday in 1991 call-up papers arrived for a weekend army camp. I tried to get hold of the Colonel, but he was not available. It was only a weekend camp, and I reported for duty at Doornkop outside of Soweto. At the time violence flared in most hostels with migrant Inkhata Freedom Party (IFP) workers clashing violently with the ANC aligned comrades in the townships. Munsieville was fortunately spared from this type of violence as it had no hostel within its borders.

It was clear that something major was up as many high-ranking army officers were in attendance. While cleaning our R4-rifles, we were briefed about the purpose of our mission. We were told that President FW de Klerk lost his patience with the violence emanating from the hostels and decided to take decisive action to rid them of dangerous elements responsible for the violence and weapons.

One such hostel was George Goch situated in City Deep not far from the famous Ellis Park rugby stadium where the Springboks won the 1995 World Cup final. The hostel was named after the 1904/5 Mayor of Johannesburg and was built to accommodate mainly Zulu speaking migrants who worked on the mines of the Reef.

Our task was to form a protective cordon around the hostel, with the South African Police being deployed at the same time to enter and search the hostel for criminals and dangerous weapons. I noticed that the Friday fell on a month-end payday and had reservations about the feasibility of the operation given this circumstance but only being a ‘troepie’ (ordinary soldier) doing camp duty I kept my concerns to myself.

We were deployed in the early hours of Saturday morning, but unlike planned, the SAP members arrived an hour late. As we deployed, I noticed that most of the hostel’s residents were still awake and in party mood having used their meager income to purchase and consume booze. When the hostel residents noticed the army deploying, and in the absence of the SAP entering and searching the hostel, the mood turned nasty, and they started barricading the entrance to the hostel.

The Police eventually arrived. Tires where set alight and a tense standoff ensued. All the while the army kept the cordon around the hostel whilst the Police started negotiating with the residents to end their barricade. In what was my only army action I placed under arrest two residents who tried to flee the hostel during the siege.

After a further two to three hours, the operation was called off as a total failure, and the police went their way, and we retreated to the Doornkop army base where we were demobilised and released from any further camp duty. Great was my wife’s surprise when I woke her up on the Saturday morning in our Krugersdorp house with a cup of coffee as she expected me back only late on Sunday.”

The similarities between the two descriptions are striking, and in my mind, there is very little doubt that we are talking about one and the same incident which most definitely took place in 1991 and not 1988/89 as per the book. The only difference is that as a member of the army, I know why the Inkhata hostel residents knew that the police were coming and that’s because the SAP botched the operation and arrived an hour late and after the army already surrounded the hostel.

Apart from the similarities between the two incidents, there are other compelling reasons why the search could only have taken place post-1990 and therefore not in 1988/89 as alleged. The African National Congress (ANC) was disbanded on 2 February 1990, and there was no reason for the then NP government to try and please the ANC before 1990 and specifically in 1988/89 as alleged by Minnie. The ANC also only started to put pressure on de Klerks NP government to disarm Inkhata members from 1991/92 onwards, which calls reached a crescendo following what has become known as the Boipatong Massacre on 17 June 1992.

Minnie follows chapter 22 up with incidents described in chapters 23 and 24, claiming that he and his girlfriend were the targets of the Civil Cooperation Bureau (CCB) to get rid of them both, without any evidence and therefore merely speculation. In chapter 25 he writes of his return to Port Elizabeth upon his request, and a conversation with his commanding officer in which the Brigadier said the following:

“It’s on good authority I’ve been told that they want you out, Max. At least for a while. People are nervous. Hell’s bells, son, you know what I’m getting at. The president of the country is actively involved in keeping this story under wraps. You need to understand the seriousness of this situation.’ He tells me that a scandal of this nature would rip the National Party apart.

The Progressive Federal Party is making great strides in unseating the Nats, and impropriety of this magnitude could tip the scale in favour of the PFP in the next election. And apart from that, there is the disgraceful depravity of it all. That these powerful men who claim to be protecting the country are child rapists shatters the illusion of their superiority.”

The above and the specific reference to the Progressive Federal Party (PFP)  sets the events of chapters 23 to 25 squarely in the 1988/89 timeframe as the PFP was dissolved in April 1989 when they merged with a few other parties to form the Democratic Party (DP), the forerunner of the current official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA).

In an article in the Daily Maverick on 23 August 2018 titled Secrets, lies, cover-ups everywhere – here are some of the facts surrounding the entire sordid saga Marianne Thamm writes as follows:

“The allegations, should they ever have been made public, would either have sounded the death knell to the apartheid state or considerably weakened its credibility and hold over the white minority, especially in an election year. The revelations would also no doubt have changed or affected the trajectory of South Africa’s political future and the survival of the National Party itself.

 The National Party, on 30 January 1987, had announced a whites-only general election to be held on 6 May. March 1987, when the docket was stolen from Minnie’s office in Port Elizabeth on the instruction of PW Botha (as has been confirmed by a former colonel in the South African police to Rapport’s Herman Jansen) was the same month the National Party was due to announce its list of candidates. The then Minister of Environmental Affairs, John Wiley, had hoped to appear on that list.

Wiley “committed suicide” on 29 March 1987 after an hour-long telephonic conversation with PW Botha the night before. The previous month, Wiley’s close friend, PE businessman and diver, Dave Allen, who had scored a highly lucrative Bird Island guano concession (which would have been approved by Wiley), “committed suicide” after Minnie had arrested him on charges of sexually assaulting minors (as the charge was at the time) and for the possession of pornography.”

The above narrative explains the importance of placing the search of the Inkhata hostel and the alleged attempt on the life of Minnie and his girlfriend also within the timeframe of 1987 to 1989 as opposed to 1991. As I, however, explained above the search definitely only took place in 1991 and I’m willing to subject myself to a lie detector, so confident am I of the facts.

The question arises, therefore, why Minnie wanted to assert that the search on the Inkhata hostel had taken place in 1988/89 as well as how this affects his overall credibility and what’s alleged in the book? Perhaps he simply misjudged himself with the actual dates, but I highly doubt this.

I can only guess, but strongly suspect that the search and subsequent alleged assault on his life and that of his girlfriend only fits into the rest of the events as described in the book if these took place in 1988/89. This assertion is further borne out by the emphasis placed by Marianne Thamm on the period of 1987 to 1989 as being central to the theme of the book and all the events described therein.

If the events happened later namely in 1991 and not 1988/89 then –

  • Minnie’s transfer to the Soweto riot unit had nothing to do with the Bird Island investigation he had been working on in 1987 to 1989, but was purely for operational police reasons given that the political unrest was at its highest in the Soweto area in 1991/92,
  • Then the claims of an assault on his life were just one of a multitude of incidents where militants shot at police officers in Soweto in the early 1990s,
  • Then the incident where his girlfriend’s car had caught fire was because it was a very old model as described by Minnie himself in the book, and
  • Then his return to Port Elizabeth was simply a routine police transfer based on Minnie’s request.

The above raises serious doubts about Minnie’s credibility and what he and the other author, Chris Steyn, alleges happened in the book, however, for me, this is but one of many important unanswered questions that remain about the validity of the allegations in the book. Steyn in her 2006 book “Published and be Damned” already made most of the allegations contained in the new book, but she did not name Malan nor du Plessis. By 2006 nearly 20 years have already elapsed after the alleged sexual assault yet none of the victims came forward then. Why also the reluctance to publish the name of Barend du Plessis if the two authors are so confident of the allegations made in the book. Another critical question to ask is why nobody is calling for the arrest of the twin brothers who raped Minnie in his youth. He clearly describes the incident and even names his two attackers and the other people present at the time the incident happened.

When I first posted on Facebook what I knew about the 1991 search of the George Goch hostel, some people attacked me and called me a racist, others claimed that I’m on the payroll of members loyal to the former South African Defence Force (SADF) and a well-known feminist that all that I ever do is to defend white people and specifically white males as I believe that white people can’t do anything wrong! This when all I’m after is the truth in this sordid affair, even if this might prove me wrong in the end.

In the next post, I will write about an attack on my Dad and Stepmother a week or so ago and which left them seriously injured and traumatized. I’m seeking answers to the question why this vicious attack, and many others that are happening regularly, can’t be viewed as a hate crime when an incident like the coffin case received widespread attention and condemnation as being racists in nature. In the post after that, I will write about my role in exposing the fake radio advert of the Apartheid Museum which earned the producers TBWA Hunter Lascaris a Loerie award.

_________________________________________________________________________

Postscript 1: Contradictory statement in chapter 28 of the book – “Contributing to the success of the cover-up was the fact that some of the original state documents and files on the case were apparently among the countless papers deliberately destroyed in the run-up to the country’s first democratic elections in 1994.”

Postscript 2: Some of those that criticised me on Facebook pointed out that the police also conducted searches of hostels in the townships before 1990. That is, of course, true but the searches then had a crime-prevention focus rather than a specific overriding political goal like the search in 1991 that I describe herein, searches done before 1990 would not have been done to please or pacify the ANC or the outside world as per Minnie (….scoring “brownie points in the outside world”), these searches did not involve a large number of high-ranking officers of the army and/or the police other than those who commanded the search operation, and the police before 1990 would have been more careful to not target only specific Inkhata hostels. Also, such criticism does not address the many similarities between what Minnie describe in the book and the hostel search I was involved in, in 1991.

Postscript 3: For those that might feel that I’m insensitive to the family of Mark Minnie following his apparent suicide that is still under investigation, I specifically held back a week or so in finishing and publishing this blog post out of respect for them. I also publically and on social media expressed my sympathy with the Minnie family and wished them God’s strength and guidance in these difficult times.

Postscript 4: I have forwarded a letter to the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport setting out in summary format what I describe in this blog post, but they have to date failed to publish it. I have enquired from the editor Waldimar Pelser as to the reasons for the non-publication but is yet to receive any reply. It might be published in the said newspaper tomorrow, but I have nevertheless decided to go ahead with my blog post on the matter.

Adam Catzavelos, Racism and Prevailing Double Standards

A matter that received a lot of attention this past week and rightly so, was that of Adam Catzavelos and his now infamous video below in which he used the k-word.

Almost at the same time, the news broke of another incident in which a member of the ANCYL, Suzanne Govender, used the k-word in a WhatsApp message. Here is a link to the Govender story breaking:

KZN ANCYL executive in hot water over ‘racist k-word’ outburst

Both incidents in essence are the same as both used the k-word via WhatsApp. Adam Catzavelos posted his video as I understand on WhatsApp, whereas Suzanne Govender had a discussion on WhatsApp as per the screenshot below:

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I believe that both of them are idiots for what they have said but as a firm believer in freedom of speech, I believe in their right to make idiots of themselves in public rather than trying to suppress their thoughts and views as racists as it may be. Suppressing racists and their views via legislation in my view is just going to drive such behaviour underground and will serve no public good.

As soon as both the Catzavelos and Govender incidents broke I decided to track how many media articles and mentions each incident received via a simple Google search and the result is reflected in the chart below which speaks for itself. Whilst the Adam incident quickly gained traction and grew from 0 to 22 300 articles or mentions in no time and are still trending upwards, the Govender incident has barely registered as a blip on the mainstream media radar and are trending to nowhere with only 143 articles/mentions by 18h00 on the evening of 24 August 2018.

Adam

I also analyzed as many of the articles on both incidents as I could and identified 44 direct consequences for Adam Catzavelos, some of which has dire consequences for him such as losing his job, being investigated by the the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) at their own volition, a radical political party visiting his residence and threats being made against him. For Suzanne Govender I could only identify 9 such direct consequences, the worst of which is that she lost her party political position on an executive committee (not sure if this was her full time employment) and a possible further investigation against her by the SAHRC, that’s if they decided to take the matter further.

I will summarize my findings of the analysis undertaken below (disclaimer – it was a rapid analysis and if I missed something and therefore what I state below is not factual please let me know and I will gladly correct same):

  1. Calls were made to boycott the family business that Adam used to work for and some of their existing clients took their business elsewhere.
  2. Both incidents were condemned but with the Adam incident, receiving much much wider public condemnation. Even Afriforum condemned Adam for his use of the k-word.
  3. Govender denied having used the k-word whereas Catzavelos, in the end, admitted ‘guilt’ and made a public apology for his actions. His apology was however not accepted well on social media.
  4. Major organizations such as Nedbank, 702 and Nike distanced themselves from Catzavelos whereas in the instance of Govender only her ward committee and the local ANCYL did so.
  5. Other political parties such as the EFF and the DA got involved in the Catzavelos incident but none in the case of Govender other than the ANCYL of which she is a member.
  6. The EFF visited the house of Catzavelos but not so for Govender.
  7. In both instances, a case was opened with the SAPS. In the Catzavelos instance, the EFF laid a charge and in the Govender matter the local ANCYL. The EFF gave the police a deadline within which to arrest Adam.
  8. Fun was poked at Catzavelos on social media and a campaign launched,  #AdamCatzavelosChallenge. I could pick up no such campaign against Govender.
  9. Catzavelos family released a statement condemning his actions. No word as yet from the family of Govender.
  10. In Catzavelos instance, the government released an official statement, none in the case of Govender.
  11. In the Adam incident, calls were made to criminalize racism and experts provided a number of opinions on the likelihood of him being successfully prosecuted. No such opinions on what Suzanne did.
  12. In the Adam incident, calls were made for all to say no to racism and to acknowledge that we are all to blame.
  13. In the Adam incident, the SAHRC decided to investigate the matter out of their own violation, although the DA and others subsequently also reported the matter to them. In the Suzanne incident, the ANCYL in her ward reported the matter to the SAHRC but its not sure whether they will take the matter further.
  14. The private school where Adam’s children are enrolled banned him from their premises. Rapper AKA congratulated the school.
  15. Various other SA celebrities condemned Catzavelos, none did so in relation to Govender.
  16. In the Adam instance, social media went berserk and the matter soon trended on SA Twitter.
  17. Twitter was used as a medium to track down Adam and his personal details were made public on social media (the personal details of Govender is not known).
  18. No such social media explosion happened in response to the Suzanne incident.
  19. In the Catzavelos incident, threats were made against him and the family business and some Nike stores closed for a short while out of fear for the safety of their staff.
  20. Adam Catzavelos wife and her employer Nike were also drawn into the incident. We don’t know if Suzanne Govender is married and if so who her partner works for.
  21. Catzavelos was fired from the family business and Govender resigned as a member of the ANCYL Exco in Ethekwini (but only after she faced a suspension and disciplinary hearing). It’s not clear whether she has any other formal employment.

From the aforementioned, the double standards at play should be clear and evident to all. I wrote a blog piece about this prevailing double standards earlier (see link below):

The Spur Incident versus that of the Pregnant Women (and yes also that of Ashwin Willemse)

The same double standards were pointed out in a report compiled by the Solidarity Research Institute in 2017 (see the following links for more information):

It looks to me like the race of the ‘perpetrator’ plays a major role in how the mainstream media, social media, political parties, the SAHRC, public analyst, radio talk show hosts and the government treats instances of racism. It’s high time that all of them be called out for this in the interest of balance and fair and equal treatment in front of the law and the court of public opinion.

Unlike in my previous blog posts highlighting double standards, I will this time around try and get comment from the parties listed above but don’t hold your breath.

Ashwin Willemse – did he infringe the dignity, respect, and standing of Nick Mallet and Naas Botha?

INTRODUCTION

The independent review into the Ashwin Willemse walk-out has found that the conduct of Nick Mallett and Naas Botha “does not manifest naked racism”. The former Springbok rugby wing walked off of the SuperSport set in May after he had accused co-hosts Nick Mallett and Naas Botha of patronizing him.

An independent review was conducted by advocate Vincent Maleka SC with the assistance of Wits University’s Professor Adam Habib. The full report can be read here –

The full Ashwin Willemse studio walk-off report

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MY PREVIOUS BLOG POSTS ON THE INCIDENT

I have already written five blog posts featuring the Ashwin Willemse incident. In the firstThe Spur Incident versus that of the Pregnant Women (and yes also that of Ashwin Willemse) I pointed out that doing a Google search on “Ashwin Willemse Supersport Mallet” limited to 19/20 May 2018 I was startled to find 3 090 results compared to only 4 Google results for the first two days after which a CEO assualted a pregnant women. In the second postThe Ashwin Willemse Discussion I would love Eusebius McKaiser to listen to I compared how Eusebius McKaiser on his 702 Talk Show dealt with the incident compared to a similar discussion on the matter on the Gareth Cliff Show. In the third postAshwin Willemse and the critics of South African rugby in the 1980’s I highlighted what certain commentators wrote in opinion pieces, following the incident, about rugby in South Africa in the 1980’s and pointed out certain key instances where they have not been accurate with the truth and questioned why the need to support their points of view with falsehoods.

In the last two blog posts Non-Racial Rugby in South Africa: 1971 to 1990 – Part 1 (1971 to 1976) and Non-Racial Rugby in South Africa: 1971 to 1990 – Part 2 (1977 to 1990). I firstly provided an overview of international matches involving the Proteas [being the representative side of the South African Rugby Football Federation (SARFF)], and the Leopards [being the representative side of the South African Rugby Association (SARA)] for the period 1971 to 1976 to demonstrate that even before unification in 1977, rugby already made some progress in moving to non-racialism in the sport, and secondly I highlighted some of the milestones achieved under the umbrella of SARB towards non-racial rugby in the late 1970’s and the 1980’s.

THE FINDINGS OF THE MALEKA REPORT

The Maleka Report into the incident is well written and easy to follow and it’s clear that Advocate Maleka went to great lengths to try and get to the bottom of the incident. He  concluded that he could find no evidence of naked racism on the part of Messrs Mallet and Botha and that he based his conclusions on the following considerations:

  • What Messrs Botha and Mallett conveyed to Mr. Willemse during the off-air incident was not based on a belief held by them of superiority, based on their race or skin colour, or cultural or social background. They were motivated by a common concern that Mr. Willemse was not afforded enough time to express his analysis before the commencement of the live broadcast of the Lions/Brumbies rugby match.
  • Both of them confirmed that they did not use or direct overt racist terms such as “quota player” when they engaged with Mr. Willemse during the off-air incident. They also indicated that they did not reference their past background and achievement in the sport of rugby during years of apartheid or sports segregation in their off-air conversation with Mr. Willemse.
  • Second, there is nothing in the audio-visual clip of the post-match studio broadcast of 19 May 2018 which reveals utterances by Messrs Botha and Mallett of naked racism directed towards Mr. Willemse. Ms. Mohcno heard what Messrs Botha and Mallett said to Mr. Willemse. Mr. Monale also heard what they said during the live broadcast. Both Ms. Mohono and Mr. Monale did not regard or consider the utterances of Messrs Botha and Mallett to Mr. Willemse as being racist.
  • Third, Advocate Maleka placed weight on the collective opinion of Ms Mohono and Mr Monale. The opinion that there was no overt racism is held by persons across race and gender diversity who would ordinarily be sensitive to utterances that are overtly racist. The fact that they did not hold such an opinion is weighty enough, in his view.

  • Fourth, during his interview with the CEOs of MultiChoice and SuperSport on 21 May 2018, Mr.Willemse was asked whether he considered the conduct of Messrs Botha and Mallett to be motivated by racism. Mr. Willemse indicated that he did not regard their conduct as racist. Mr. Willemse was also asked whether he considered Messrs Botha and Mallett to be racists. He indicated that they were not, in his view. He was then asked whether he would be prepared to still work with them. He indicated a willingness to do so.

With regards to subtle racism (also called microaggressions), Advocate Maleka found no evidence of this playing any part. Messrs Mallet and Botha conduct were not motivated by malevolent intent, or a desire to hurt  Mr. Willemse and there is a rational explanation or justification for their conduct.

This is in line with my own initial assessment of what happened in the studioand as I reported in The Ashwin Willemse Discussion I would love Eusebius McKaiser to listen to. I also listened and viewed the video of the incident again and again with a very attentive ear to try and pick up any subtle racism (or microaggressions), whether covert or not, on the part of Nick Mallet and Naas Botha that can be viewed as either condescending or patronizing but could not identify any.

It should be noted that the concept of microaggressions (or subtle racism) is not without its critics as alluded to in this article The trouble with ‘microaggressions’ wherein its author, Emory University psychologist Scott Lilienfield, casts a critical eye over the concept and the evidence on which it rests. He questions how microaggressions are defined and assessed. He observes that the concept’s meaning is nebulous, to the point that there is no agreed understanding of what it includes and excludes. Any manner of experiences could in principle find shelter under its broad umbrella.

He concluded that “microaggression” is not the best way to think about subtle prejudice. Its definition is amorphous and elastic. It fails to appreciate the ambiguity of social interaction, relies too exclusively on subjective perceptions, and too readily ascribes hostile intent. By doing so, the idea of microaggression contributes to a punitive and accusatory environment that is more likely to create backlash than social progress.

Is this not exactly what happened in this incident? Those that crucified Nick Mallet and Naas Botha did not take into consideration the ambiguity of the social interaction that took place on the day in the studio, relied on their own subjective prejudices and immediately ascribed hostile intent on the part of Naas Botha and Nick Mallet against Ashwin Willemse. This created and accusatory environment against all concerned, including Ashwin Willemse, that created more of a negative backlash than contributing in any way to social progress.

DID ASHWIN WILLEMSE INFRINGE THE DIGNITY OF NICK MALLET AND NAAS BOTHA?

This brings me to another angle, and that is how Ashwin Willemse, granted when being upset about something which I will come to later, infringed on the dignity, respect, and standing of Nick Mallet and Naas Botha by attacking their reputation as rugby players who according to him, only played segregated rugby in the Apartheid era. As for Naas Botha, he is one of the few SA rugby players inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame as he was in his own right a player of exceptional talent and recognised internationally as one of the games best flyhalves ever. He also did not just play rugby in the Apartheid era so Ashwin Willemse is wrong on this point, but also after 1990 when he captained the Springboks in tests against the All Blacks, Wallabies and France.

As for Nick Mallet he played in only two tests in the 1980’s due to South Africa’s sporting isolation, but his real claim to fame is when he capably and with distinction, coached the Springboks in the post-Apartheid era, and from 1998 to 2000, equaling the All Blacks long-standing world record of 17 undefeated international tests. His reputation is therefore not based mainly on being a former Springbok player which Ashwin Willemse lashed out against, but that of a post-Apartheid coach who ably coached the Springboks in this capacity to many victories.

In addition, and as pointed out in my blog posts Non-Racial Rugby in South Africa: 1971 to 1990 – Part 1 (1971 to 1976) and Non-Racial Rugby in South Africa: 1971 to 1990 – Part 2 (1977 to 1990). rugby under the South African Rugby Board (SARB) banner was played on non-racial, and therefore not a segregated basis, from 1977 onwards. Both Naas Botha and Nick Mallet, therefore, played their rugby yes, mainly during the Apartheid era, but not on a racial or segregated basis as claimed by Ashwin Willemse.

Ashwin Willemse, therefore, has a lot to answer for how he acted out against Naas Botha and Nick Mallet in the manner that he did. He could have taken his grievance up with the management of SuperSport afterwards, who would have had to investigate the matter in terms of their relevant procedures. In acting out as he did, he in my view unfairly impinged the dignity, respect, and standing of Nick Mallet and Naas Botha and that on a public platform where they could not defend themselves.

CONCLUSION

Almost on cue following the release of the report Eusebius tweeted as follows:

“I read every sentence of the #AshwinWillemse report. It’s amazing how 1652 Twitter ignore the FULL detail. Adv. Vincent Maleka SC is clear that his findings aren’t binding AND that Supersport should refer racism claims to the Human Rights Commission for final resolution.”

In response to this Max du Preez rightly tweeted “That it’s hypocritical to loudly protest against the EFF’s crude ethnic chauvinism one day and to refer to “1652 Twitter” the next”.

As for Ashwin Willemse, his lawyer revealed that he will approach the Equality Court to rule on the matter as he feels that Maleka’s investigation was ‘not the forum to voice his concerns’. His lawyer further indicated that the process was a fruitless exercise and that they believe the whole incident is rooted in racism. This despite Ashwin Willemse indicating in the initial SuperSport investigation that he did not regard the conduct of Messrs Botha and Mallett as racists and that he did not consider Messrs Botha and Mallett to be racists.

So if the conduct of Naas Botha and Nick Mallet was not racists as found by the thorough Maleka investigation and as confirmed by Ashwin Willemse himself, what then to make of the statement that the whole incident, rather than the conduct of Messrs Botha and Mallet in itself, is rooted in racism? All will, of course, be revealed in due time in the arguments put in front of the Equality Court, but I would not be surprised if it does not have to do with a rugby-based difference of opinion on whether Elton Jantjies versus somebody like Handre Pollard, is the best South African flyhalf with Ashwin Willemse arguing that Naas Botha and Nick Mallet are biased against rugby players of colour and always questioning their rugby playing ability whilst always favouring white players and not questioning their ability or form.

It’s a well-known fact that Ashwin Willemse has a soft spot for Elton Jantjies. In this light there is a telling part in the Maleka report which read as follows:

  • Next, the anchor introduced a topic for commentary. It related to the changes made to the Lion’s side and invited the analyst’s views thereon.
  • Mr Mallett provided a detailed analysis of the changes, and his analysis proceeded for approximately one minute. Thereafter, the anchor turned to Mr Botha and invited him to comment on the form of Mr Elton Jantjies, who plays for the Lions. Mr Botha provided his analysis against the background of live pictures from the stadium, depicting the warm up by Mr Jantjies. Now and then Mr Mallett would add his views to the points made by Mr Botha, in a manner that revealed a collegial conversation between them. The inputs from both takes about few minutes.
  • Then, the anchor suddenly announces that it is time to join the live broadcast of the match at the Emirates Airline Park stadium.
  • Throughout the pre-match commentary, Mr Willemse did not have the opportunity to provide a pre-match analysis. He stood next to a touch screen television monitor and listened to the analyses of his colleagues, as they were led by the anchor.

My guess is, although I have not had the opportunity to listen to or view the pre-match or half-time match analysis , that Ashwin Willemse, more likely than not, took umbrage to something negative either Naas Botha or Nick Mallet said about the form of Elton Jantjies in the pre-match analysis and that this further confirmed his belief that they are by nature biased against players of colour. This coupled with the fact that, due to circumstances beyond anybody’s control, he had no chance to contribute to the pre-match analysis and therefore not being able to contribute to the discussion on Elton Jantjie’s form, might have been what upset him so much to react the way he did in the post-match analysis. It’s of course pure speculation on my side at this stage, but it makes sense when viewed in the context of what happened on the day as explained in detail in the Maleka report.