Farm murders and attacks

Photo: Pixabay

SAHRC rejects DA complaints over malicious farm murder tweets

Social media posts seemingly “glorifying” farm attacks are of concern to the DA, but it seems that their complaints have fallen on deaf ears.

Farm murders and attacks

Photo: Pixabay

Complaints by the Democratic Alliance (DA) regarding an increase in malicious social media posts relating to farm attacks and murders have fallen on deaf ears, the opposition party have said on Tuesday 18 August. 

The DA referred several social media posts – which seemingly glorify farm murders and attacks – to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to investigate them for hate speech in July, but the SAHRC rejected the complaints and told the DA to refer their grievance to the South African Police Services (SAPS) instead.

DA confused by SAHRC hate speech investigation consistency  

The DA’s Shadow Minister of State Security Dianne Kohler Barnard said on Tuesday 18 August that the rejection of their complaint was justified by a series of “weak excuses”, saying that the posts that were cited by the DA spoke broadly about violence against farmers and that no one was individually singled out for malicious threats. 

“In another weak justification of its refusal to investigate these hateful posts, the Commission said that in the instances the DA reported, the comments were ‘made broadly in reference to millions of people on the basis of their race’. However, the SAHRC has taken action in similar cases, such as one where a man filmed himself on holiday using racist language. He was charged and fined for doing so.”

The above refers of course to an investigation into hate speech committed by one Adam Catzavelos, who was found guilty in the Equality Court after the SAHRC investigated the claim that he had infringed on the dignity of black people by using the k-word in a foul mouthed rant while on holiday in Greece.

There are a number of instances wherein the perpetrator made racist generalisations, and were heavily fined for doing so.” she said.

“The Commission also claims that it does not to have jurisdiction over such speech,” she said. 

“The SAHRC’s decision to not investigate these posts and their justifications for not doing so, is a direct contradiction to previous cases it has pursued.”

She said that the SAHRC has investigated similar claims in the past, which concerned Barnard because she feels like the issue of farm attacks and murders should receive the same sense of urgency. 

“The Commission had the capacity previously to track and fine persons from widely publicised cases. In fact, the SAHRC has lead numerous cases against hate speech, taking them through the Equality Court to completion.  A criminal case was sometimes run concurrently,” she said. 

Farm murder tweets ‘should be investigated in line with previous efforts’

The DA alleged that the posts in question, in which one Twitter user asked “why don’t we just kill these Boers because [President Cyril] Ramaphosa will just turn a blind eye”, and another in which a user said that “[white people] are killing each other to perpetuate an agenda that there’s white genocide in South Africa” should be investigated in line with the SAHRC’s previous efforts to root out hate speech.

“The Democratic Alliance (DA) has, over the past month and a half, while the Commission has agreed that the content is unacceptable and unlawful, it claims that it hasn’t the capacity to trace the individuals who post openly on social media.  

“We know of one instance where a person went to jail because, ‘this matter involved a personal and direct infringement of the police officer’s dignity‘,” they said.  

“It would seem, however, that to the SAHRC, racially-fuelled posts encouraging South Africans to murder members of a family already prostrate with grief at the murder of their loved one, does not qualify as an infringement on human dignity.” 

She said that the manner in which these posture being shared is particularly concerning, with their content being directed at vulnerable victims of horrific incidents that took place in their own homes shortly after they were committed. 

“These statements are often made directly after attacks and murders on a farming family. Yet somehow the SAHRC doesn’t see this as something they can or want to deal with. The Commission has no inclination to assist the survivors of rape and torture and being forced to watch their loved ones die, when some South Africans cheer the rapists and murderers on.”