Political mammoths, self-determiners and the false dilemma of “building” and “demanding”


By prof. Andries Raath

“Construction” and legal protection

Recently Dr. Ernst Roets for RNews a piece rejecting self-determination and making a plea for political “building work” without claim to internationally recognized enterprises and rights to self-determination.

However, the question is whether such political construction can succeed without legal protection and the enforcement of internationally and locally recognized self-determination rights? Can civil liberties be secured without legal protection? Can progress (“construction”) without legal protection prevent freedom from discrimination through nepotism and black economic empowerment (SEB) in the workplace? Is “building” without enforcement of environmental rights effective in maintaining water supplies, ensuring electricity and ensuring the engulfment of towns, cities and beaches by raw sewage? Can Afrikaans mother tongue teaching in schools be protected by “building up” without interdicts that prevent the EFF from occupying educational institutions? Can hate speech be stopped by simply appealing to “build”, without turning yourself to the law?

Solidarity and AfriForum’s regular litigation to stop the tidal waves of infringements on minority rights is proof that the rule of law is a core element of the constitutional order to protect construction work. Individuals and groups in the rule of law cannot function effectively by maintaining civil liberties and political rights without claims (aka “demands”) that the political authority bearers fulfill their obligations in terms of the Constitution, common law and legislation. The same also applies to claims to self-determination in the local and international sphere.

Political mammoths and minority rights

In the midst of the heightening of the national democratic revolution, despite Anthea Jeffery’s revealing book, Countdown to Socialism, and the steamroller of Marxist legislation to push the agenda of the ANC-communist alliance before the election, Roets’s support of the pre-1994 political mammoths and his admonishing call to “build” harder and “demand” less freedom fall must be strange on the ear!

This type of opinion has had a long run in Afrikaner circles since 1992. During personal discussions of the then Freedom Foundation (an Afrikaner self-determination movement) with dr. Gerrit Viljoen and Niel Barnard (spokesmen of the then NP government) spoke the same language: Minority rights for ethnic minority peoples, no demands for self-determination, building work to make the rainbow nation work and Orania which as a private entity may within the framework of minority rights protection function.

In a personal meeting with Cyrus Vance, then Secretary of State of the USA and Special Envoy of the UN, at that time there was more concern and realism with him about the survival of ethnic minority peoples in South Africa than these political mammoths who are on the companies left the ANC-communist alliance at Kodesa. Roets appeals to the assurance of an ANC spokesperson, Ronald Lamola, at the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) that Orania is not a “project” that must be intervened in one way or another”.

Could people then expect something else in this company? It is a resounding reminder of all the pious undertakings of the current ruling party at Kodesa! These voices of political mammoths who in time bowed the knee to the ANC-communist alliance and since then have turned to the courts on an ongoing basis if necessary to protect freedom in the workplace, in education, in the churches and in almost all other areas of life, appeals that self-determination should not be demanded from the current government, but rather “built”?

The appeal to self-determination

Article 235 is the direct consequence – with almost identical wording – of constitutional principle XXXIV. This principle gave constitutional force to the Afrikaner Agreement of 23 April 1994. Not only was the Agreement the product of multilateral negotiations, but several international actors were involved in making territorial self-determination a component of a lasting political solution. Furthermore, important constitutional institutions and arrangements have been seized to give effect to the Agreement and the rights and obligations for the parties to this agreement.

Just as civil organizations – notably Solidarity and AfriForum, Sakeliga, the South African Bureau for Racial Affairs, agricultural organizations such as TLU SA and Saai, church and other private institutions – have the right (and duty) to protect their supporters’ interests through legal means. protected, constitutional rule of law requires the enforcement of constitutional undertakings to which parties have solemnly committed themselves.

The demographic realities of our country, ideological fixation of the ANC-communist alliance, expanding discrimination against white people in general and Afrikaners in particular, impoverishment of Afrikaners and waste of millions in legal fees, belie the efforts of political mammoths to get the voices of concerned people to silence self-determination Afrikaners and other minority groups.

Why not minority rights?

Afrikaner self-determiners are in no way a threat to Afrikaner mammoths who hope and build on the lost dreams of 1993 Code politics. Territorial self-determination functions under the rule of law precisely in support of civil organizations (such as Solidarity and AfriForum) and private initiatives (such as Orania) to enable the exercise of the full spectrum of civil rights.

To call for “building work” without preventing demolition from taking place at the same speed and to try to silence minority peoples who need stronger protection than mere minority rights protection is a symptom of the fog that minority rights protection caused in 1994 and still has a numbing effect on some Afrikaner opinion makers.

On the other hand, external self-determination is an empty shell if members of minority peoples do not also enjoy civil rights protection in a legal constitutional dispensation. The insight that external and internal self-determination go hand in hand, that they are not two distant poles and that one does not exclude the other, requires a political vision of the realities of our country and a commitment to “building work” that lasting political freedom for such ethnic can ensure.

Until such time as the juxtaposition of self-determination rights (external self-determination) and minority rights protection (internal self-determination rights) is maintained by outdated expectations and dreams, the current fruitless debates will continue, rising legal costs remain part of the future projection for impoverished Afrikaners and lack of true ” self-determination solidarity” the sincere efforts to create a more nuanced political future, be a brainchild.

Proactive, reactionary and self-determination rights

Minority rights protection and freedom are two incompatible expectations.

Minority rights are typical countervailing rights with negative effect with the aim of preventing encroachment on existing civil liberties. Self-determination rights are constructive, or positive, rights to pursue both internal and external freedom of minority peoples and realize their full potential as ethnic rights holders.

The mammoth politics of the former NP government with their inflated expectations of minority rights protection, was probably the most important catalyst of the current inertia that seized Afrikaners, stripped them of a positive future horizon and deprived them of the possibility of seizing their own first world civilization.

Despite minority rights “building work” since 1994, millions of Afrikaners have gone abroad because of a lack of a hopeful view of the political reality of South Africa. Even more Afrikaners were left disillusioned by expectations built on statements like that of Lamola – statements that later disappeared over the horizon in the dust clouds of affirmative action, fulmination about white colonialism and blatant racism.

Illusions that civil society organizations can ensure lasting “building work” of minority peoples through ongoing litigation is a myth that has probably so far only been sold to Afrikaners with any success in South Africa. Constitutional solutions without components of constitutionally protected territorial autonomy are delusions – opium for the people – whose temporarily intoxicating effect only leads to further dismantling of any lasting political edification, endless legal costs result in further impoverishment and marginally postpones the eventual disillusionment.

Take Orania as an example. However, the reality is. For all the good things that happen in Orania, it will remain a small African settlement, artificially kept alive with external funds, unless it becomes the pivot of constitutionally enshrined regional autonomy.

The political mammoths are a small remaining species that will probably only come to understand the extent of political realities when the waves of self-determination and territorial secession break the existing ANC communist hegemony and hopefully leave them as an extinct species of political climate change.

  • Andries Raath is emeritus senior professor in Public Law at the University of the Free State and research associate in Public Law, Philosophy and History at the same institution.