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South African police at Alexandra Township 1/Jan/1985. UN Photo/x. www.unmultimedia.org/photo/

South Africans, on Twitter at least, have gotten into some almighty spats over all manner of stuff and few of these have been driven by rational debate. We love our emotional vents even if it means sacrificing a clearly identifiable common interest. The debate over AfriForum and what their CEO, Kallie Kriel, said on the Eusebius McKaiser Show, is just one more example of this.

Some of the founders and citizens of Orania might have nationalist sympathies, but Orania is doing nothing to materially advance the nationalist cause. They don’t even try too hard to recruit Afrikaans people to move there (I might be wrong. Maybe they take out ads in Afrikaans newspapers or something, and that’s okay).

Kriel might have nationalist sympathies, but all AfriForum does under his leadership is be an advocate for the natural rights of Afrikaner people. But by doing that, they have to fight for my rights as well, and I like that.

Now, apartheid was a crime against humanity because it denied black people the rights. The same rights Kriel doesn’t want to be taken away from his members. And herein lies the problem with Kriel’s sentiment: essentially, his statement taken to its logical conclusion harms the interests of his members more than it harms the outraged twitterati.

Property rights are absolutely core to human rights. There are no human rights without property rights. If you can’t own anything, you can’t defend yourself against aggression. Further, I think someone like Piet le Roux (AfriSake CEO) might agree that governments tend to lead to this most serious crime against humanity, starting with taxation.

The next thing that AfriForum gets flack for, is advocacy around farm murders and some of their members’ belief in the white genocide myth. It is a mystery to me that we spend so much time quibbling about how big the problem is, instead of trying to genuinely understand the problem and stop citizens getting murdered. (Everyone says this, just before they scream ‘white genocide!’ or ‘AfriForum is fascist!’). Let’s just get down to solving the problem already – it’s all of our problem, not just Afrikaans people. The government, through either malice or neglect, are causing the death of 19,000 of us every year.

So fighting each other won’t make us die less. In fact, it’s a historically-proven means of ensuring more of us die. It is also in the interests of everyone (apart from politicians) for data to be accurate around farm murders and all other crimes. If we find a political motive behind such crimes, all of us should say ‘not in our name’ and punish those involved. But equally, if we find another motive, we should deal with that instead of being wedded to a narrative that does nothing to stop the deaths of people on farms.

Finally, I would like to make it clear that both communism and apartheid are crimes against humanity since both were rooted in denying property rights to some people. (We can quibble over scale – but who takes joy in that unless the goal is to understand the problem better and develop tailored solutions to the particular problem?) Expropriation without compensation would therefore also be a crime against humanity, according to my definition.

Whether people die or not and how many of them do depends on the extent to which people can and are willing to resist this crime, so using number of dead people as a definition seems stupid to me. Farm murders are a serious problem that needs serious law enforcement action and, failing that, farmers are morally justified in not paying taxes and providing for their own security even if government doesn’t like it. That goes for everyone who has to suffer under the tyranny of criminals and uninterested politicians.