Members of Black First Land First (BLF), with leader Andile Mngxitama in the centre, at a press conference. File picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency(ANA)
At a casual glance, former National Party politician Jimmy Kruger and the Black First Land First (BLF) movement may appear strange bedfellows.

The former was a right-wing apartheid cabinet minister who fought vigorously to maintain white minority rule in South Africa, while the latter is a revolutionary socialist political party demanding the expropriation of white-owned land and its return to black people.

Yet, on closer examination, they have so much in common. Both show a despicably callous disrespect for human life and a sickening lack of humanity, clearly born out of naked racism.

Kruger, you will recall, was the police minister when black consciousness leader Steve Biko died on September 12, 1977, naked and shackled on a filthy floor, under Security Police custody.

When Kruger stood up in public to react to Biko’s death, he made a statement that will go down as one of the most shameful and staggeringly callous in recent history.

“I am not glad and I am not sorry about Mr Biko. It leaves me cold.”

What manner of man would stoop so low and say something so heartless about the death of another, and in this case someone who was revered and respected for his leadership by millions?

And then it struck me. As much as Kruger’s words were so utterly depraved and cold-hearted, how different were they from the insanely insensitive comments made by BLF leaders and supporters after the tragic deaths of four children following the collapse of a walkway at a Vanderbijlpark school recently?

Just as parents, loved ones and community members bowed their heads in grief over the loss of these children, some BLF members were seen to be celebrating the tragedy, seeing it as godly intervention in which “three (now four) future problems” had been eliminated.

How can one condone the BLF supporter who posted a Facebook comment saying he “doesn’t have a heart to feel pain” for the white children who died in the tragedy.

BLF spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp is also reported to have come out in support of this Facebook comment and said in a tweet, which was later deleted: “Why should we frown on the ancestors’ petitions to punish the land thieves including their offspring”.

Let’s be clear - race hatred is race hatred, whether it’s Jimmy Kruger’s brand or the BLF’s, and needs to be strongly condemned by all decent South Africans. What gives our country hope, however, are the many people and organisations who reacted with such anger and outrage at the BLF’s insensitivity, with some demanding court action and banning it from the May elections.

It is a clear sign most South Africans are sickened by such attitudes, wherever they emanate from. I still recall the words of Steve Biko from his book I write what I like: “Blacks have had enough experience as objects of racism not to wish to turn the tables.”