AfriForum launched a platform today where those who have been falsely accused of racism can ask the organisation for help. It appears that allegations of false racism are on the rise in South Africa. Fabricated cases of such race-based discrimination carry the same consequences as bona fide cases, and are hurtful, disrespectful and can undermine a person’s dignity.
Being accused of racism in South Africa is probably one of the worst labels that can be attached to a person, especially when these allegations play out publicly. The social and economic consequences are often swift – the person being accused is ostracised, isolated and subjected to online abuse, including death threats, and often left unemployed and unemployable. This situation can play out in mere days, and sometimes hours depending on how viral the content depicting the conduct, or the allegation itself, spreads on social media and elsewhere.
There must be no place for discrimination or hatred in South Africa and bona fide cases of racism must be strongly condemned. People must stand firm against such conduct in all its forms. AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit, however, is prepared to help people where it can be shown that they have been falsely accused of racism. The platform offers guidelines for the public to pursue legal action in false racism cases.
Barry Bateman, spokesperson for AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit says that speaking out is essential. “False allegations of racism have equally damaging social and economic consequences for those implicated. Often, no evidence of the alleged offence is needed for such allegations to be accepted as the truth and any protest that such allegations are false or lacking evidence is seen as evidence of the very crime the person is accused of.”
“The person being accused of the conduct is left to prove their innocence – while the accuser’s word is viewed as sacrosanct and unquestionable. This Kafka-esque state of affairs forces the victims of false claims to remain quiet about the injustice perpetrated against them,” Bateman concludes.
“No person reasonably expects another person to accept guilt and atone for a crime they did not commit. Yet this is exactly wat happens when false claims of racism are levelled against a person. We would like to see that stop,” adds Charné Mostert, Campaign Officer at AfriForum.
AfriForum’s Private Prosecution Unit encourages people who have fallen victim or who are aware of victims who have been persecuted for false racism to visit the platform here.