Genocide Alerts: South Africa

Genocide Watch returns South Africa to stage 5 “polarization” on its Countries at Risk Chart

By Genocide Watch
2 February 2012


After upgrading South Africa to stage 6 “preparation” in September 2011 due to the increasing power of Julius Malema, then the Marxist racist President of the African National Congress Youth League, two quite significant developments have occurred.  The first was a South African court’s ruling that Malema’s singing of the “Shoot the Boer” song constitutes “hate speech” in violation of South African law.  The court issued an injunction prohibiting Malema from singing the song.  The second development is the suspension of Julius Malema from the African National Congress (ANC) and his removal as President of the ANC Youth League.

Stage 5 of the eight stages of genocide is “polarization”. Given the history of Apartheid in South Africa, there is deep-rooted polarization between whites and black in the nation. Part of the polarization in South Africa is the legacy of Apartheid and the continuing dominance in the economy of white owned businesses and farms.  There is also polarization from the black population, who feel excluded from real power and jobs, even though the ANC now controls the government.

A response to this black polarization was Julius Malema’s call for redistribution of wealth from the white population to the black population, which Malema claimed to be a “correction of the injustices of Apartheid.” The current socio-economical inequalities in South Africa are leading to an increasing, rather than decreasing polarization. Since poverty and unemployment among black youth remains, tensions between impoverished blacks and wealthier whites is likely to increase.

This general polarization, which is normally non-violent, created a fertile ground for political radicalization. That was the case with the rise of Malema, former President of the ANC Youth League, when he and his followers sang the old anti-Boer song: “Kill the Boer” at rallies of the Youth League. Malema called for expropriation of white owned land when he was in Zimbabwe visiting Robert Mugabe and called Botswana’s racially harmonious society “neo-colonial”. These practices of Malema, and the slowness of the leadership of the ANC to discipline him, made Genocide Watch upgrade South Africa to stage 6 in September 2011. But now that Malema has been removed from his position of growing power, Genocide Watch is returning South Africa to stage 5.

It is very important to note that downgrading Genocide Watch’s risk assessment, does not mean that the situation is safe now in South Africa.  Unfortunately, we still think Malema has a large following among unemployed youth, and tensions between black and white people are still high.

Genocide Watch continues to be alarmed at hate crimes committed against whites, particularly against Boer farmers, an important early warning sign that genocide could occur.  Those who commit such crimes must be promptly brought to justice, and denounced by the political leaders of South Africa.  Genocide Watch’s first six stages do not constitute genocide.  Genocide Watch does not believe that genocide is currently underway in South Africa.  Nevertheless, Genocide Watch will keep a watchful eye on the situation.







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