Pretoria - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has accused lobby group AfriForum of “racialising crime” and using “publicity stunts” at the expense of real crime victims.
Mthethwa’s spokesman, Zweli Mnisi, claimed on Thursday that the organisation was trying to use the minister as a “draw card” by falsely advertising that he would be present at its functions and meetings.
Mnisi referred to an event two years ago when AfriForum allegedly claimed Mthethwa would be a guest speaker. But the department was unaware of such an arrangement.
AfriForum was accused of trying to pull another “publicity stunt” on Thursday when its deputy chief executive, Ernst Roets, accompanied by a few members, delivered letters from complainants to Mthethwa’s office. Among them was a letter from a woman whose brother and father had been killed on their farm during the festive season.
Mnisi said AfriForum had informed the media there would be a meeting with the minister, but Mthethwa knew nothing of it. “No official meeting was confirmed. We accordingly advised the media of this unfortunate publicity stunt.”
The letters included a memorandum on farm attacks that Mthethwa had allegedly refused to accept in December last year.
Roets denied the claims, saying AfriForum had never falsely advertised the meeting, but simply wanted to deliver the documents to bring farm attacks to Mthethwa’s attention. “If he wants to call our efforts a publicity stunt then he can. There is a huge safety crisis in the agriculture community and the minister is not acting and (is) refusing to acknowledge it.”
Roets said his delegation to the minister’s office had not been expecting a meeting. He had informed Mnisi in an e-mail that they wanted only to deliver the documents. His e-mail to Mnisi read: “We’re planning to arrive at your offices at 12:00. I should mention the media might be present. We are not expecting a meeting…” Roets
added: “Our biggest concern is that instead of acting on the problem they’re accusing us of racialising it.”