President Donald Trump walks down the steps after arriving on Air Force One, Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The easiest way to avoid an intelligent debate with someone whose opinions challenge your own, is to call them racist and right-wing - or an animal.

This appears to be demonstrated by Dr Siphamandla Zondi, a professor at the Institute for Strategic and Political Affairs at the University of Pretoria, if his article, “Nobody Wins If Trump Decides To Sanction SA” (Dispatches, August 26) is anything to go by.

Not satisfied with hitting out at Trump, Zondi wrote: “The hyena has been going around the global village, especially in white countries or where the right-wing is growing in strength, reporting of a massive white genocide taking place in South Africa and recently the so-called “massive land seizures”.

“Frans Cronje of the SA Institute for Race Relations (IRR), a formerly liberal institute that has turned into a bastion for white interests, has not denied in media interviews that it was their ‘research’ briefing to a right-wing US think tank, Cato Institute, that led to a Cato policy which asked Trump to intervene.

“This, to protect whites in South Africa.”

Zondi neither flatters himself nor shows his scholarly finesse by reducing the IRR’s reasoned position on property rights for all to an illiberal defence of white interests, and an endorsement of what the IRR in fact regards as a false claim of “massive white genocide”.

The IRR’s position is clear. We lobby at home and abroad for the rights of all South Africans to live in a country whose prosperity is founded on policies capable of generating the investment, foreign and local. Trump’s tweet is the consequence of the government’s commitment to extend the power of the state to seize property.

In ignoring these key points, Zondi exhibits a familiar but no less lamentable reliance on denigrating a countervailing view.

The Sunday Independent