Apr 06, 2011

Press Conference on the Afrikaner Struggle for Autonomy

On Tuesday 5 April 2011 UNPO attended a press conference of Mr. Paul Kruger, chairman of the 'Afrikaner Volksraad Verkiesing Kommissie' (VVK), on the ongoing struggle of the Afrikaners to preserve their culture and gain autonomy

UNPO has been supporting the Afrikaners in their quest for self-determination since 2008, when the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) became one of our Members. The VVK (literally: Peoples Council Elections Commission) is not affiliated to the FF+, but nevertheless UNPO was pleased to provide the VVK with a place to explain their agenda, as we believe that extra attention to the Afrikaner cause is always welcome.

The press conference started with a movie about the history of the Afrikaners, beginning at the time of the arrival of the Dutch East India Company at the Cape in 1652 and continuing to the present day. The movie gave special attention to the situation of the Afrikaners since the end of white rule in South Africa in 1994. Shocking images were displayed of murdered Afrikaners, graphically showing how the very high murder rate in South Africa hits particularly the Boers extremely hard, with the murder rate on Afrikaners more than two hundred times higher than that in Europe for example.

After the movie ended Mr. Kruger spoke about the current political and economic situation in South Africa. According to him, 17 years of African National Party (ANC)-rule has brought the country little benefits, with unemployment and crime rocketing and the Boer community politically and culturally marginalized. Mr. Kruger indicated that the only way to save the Afrikaner culture is far reaching autonomy. The VVK wants to achieve this through peaceful negotiations with the ANC. This can however only be done when the ANC has a single representative Afrikaner body to talk to and such a body does not yet exist. For this reason, Mr. Kruger explained, the VVK wants to hold elections to form a Volksraad (or Peoples Council) that can negotiate with the ANC for an autonomous region (or independent state) for the Afrikaners in South Africa. When such a negotiating process fails, the chosen Volksraad could make an appeal to the international community for assistance in the Afrikaner struggle for the recognition of the right to self-determination. Regarding the practical problems encountered when having to form an autonomous region for a people living as dispersed as the Afrikaners, Mr. Kruger explained that in his view South Africa is big enough to harbour more than one state, the Afrikaner state would not have to consist of one contiguous part and and especially the Northern Cape province is so sparsely populated that it would be quite easy to establish an autonomous region.

After the explanation of the goals of the VVK there was time for questions. To start with Mr. Mike Corder from the Associated Press asked how big the VVK thinks the chances are that the ANC will cooperate with the founding of an autonomous region or independent state for the Afrikaners. Mr. Kruger replied that he considers President Jacob Zuma to be quite sympathetic to Afrikaners demands and is positive about the outcome of eventual negotiations with the ANC. Following that Mr. Corder asked Mr. Kruger if he thought that, considering the legacy of Apartheid, the international community will be sympathetic to ‘white’ demands for land in Africa. Mr. Kruger answered a blemished image is something the Afrikaners have to live with, but that that can never be a reason for murder. He added to that the Afrikaner community has been living in Southern Africa for much longer than Australia’s European community and can therefore be considered to be an indigenous African community.

After that there was a more specific discussion about the area in South Africa that the VVK believes the Afrikaners should strive to obtain as an autonomous area. Mr. Kruger supported the Orania project of Mr. Karel Boshoff, but lamented the lack of public consultation for the project, which he pointed out as one of the reasons for the small amount of Afrikaners that immigrated to Orania. Mr. Kruger said he is in favour of a relatively small territory in South Africa, because that will improve the chances of agreement with the ANC and also means that a truly Afrikaner community is possible, but wants the Afrikaner people to decide on that via a referendum.

The meeting was concluded with some words of thanks and an interesting informal discussion about the future of the Boer in South Africa.

For more information on the Afrikaners and the Freedom Front Plus, please click here.