AfriForum condemns Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery’s disgusting comments about Afrikaners

The civil rights organisation AfriForum condemns Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery’s recent unacceptable comments and hateful stereotyping of Afrikaners in the strongest sense. These comments were made by Jeffery during the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services’ meeting this week on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill. Responding to FF Plus MP Jaco Mulder’s criticisms of this Bill, Jeffery remarked: “Mr Mulder is, I’m sure, concerned about his constituency, which I think is more white Afrikaners, because very often these racist incidents, or many of them are, propagated by [that] particular group, but equally, [the Bill] can protect white Afrikaners if they are being attacked on the basis of their race. So, it applies to everybody.”

AfriForum has submitted written comments against this proposed Bill in 2019 and 2021 and did an oral presentation in 2022 before the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services, outlining the organisation’s concerns about the Bill. The fact that Jeffery directed these hateful, stereotyping comments at Afrikaners, in the same breath that he used to assert that the Bill in question will be applied consistently by the ANC government, proves exactly why AfriForum does not support granting the government more power to police speech in accordance with its clear double standards.

“If Mr Jeffery genuinely cared about protecting all groups, including Afrikaners, from hateful rhetoric, he would firstly retract his derogatory comments and publicly apologise, as well as address his ANC comrades when they attack and stereotype Afrikaners,” says Ernst van Zyl, Campaign Officer for Strategy and Content at AfriForum.

“Mr Jeffery’s comment during this same session that the ANC has ‘political objectives’ they wish to achieve with the Bill, is exactly why AfriForum opposes it. This Bill opens the door for further abuses by the ANC, whereby it can simply criminalise speech that it hates, from those it wishes to silence, rather than tackling actual hate speech. Those are the political objectives Jeffery is most likely referring to,” concludes Van Zyl.

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