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Black advocates responds to Adriaan Basson's insults

29 Jul 2022 at 19:06hrs | Views
We the undermentioned advocates respond formally to Mr Adriaan Basson's insults against Dali Mpofu SC as follows:

On 7 February 2022 Mr Adriaan Basson, Editor-in-Chief of News 24 published an article in which he sought not merely to differ with our senior colleague, Dali Mpofu SC, but also sought to pour upon him gratuitous insults that in our view betray the all-too-common colonial attitude of whiteness towards Africans in general, and more recently, towards African professionals in particular. We consider the article an irresponsible and hurtful attack on a legal practitioner performing his constitutional duties. The Judicial Service Commission performs a constitutional duty, and it is in this context that we must view Mpofu's contribution.

If Basson is so committed to polite language as he claims, his point and even criticism of the process or Mpofu and Malema, could be done without resorting to insults. Basson refers to Mpofu as "a scoundrel, immoral and a nincompoop". The term nincompoop is drawn from the Latin phrase "non compos mends", which means a person not of right mind. We find these references hurtful, demeaning and unnecessary.

We note the undertones in his attack and find it an outrage that in his desire to differ with Mpofu SC, he resorts to gratuitous insults and slurs, whose roots are the colonial racist heritage and whose motives were to plunder, to exploit, to maim, to control and to colonize. He naturally sees Mpofu, the same way the colonial forefathers viewed an African person: an immoral, depraved and irrational being, whose race is so inferior it deserves the master's sharp tongue and reprimand.

Basson could well differ with Mpofu SC, and he is entitled to do so, but we take exception to the seeming colonial logic that informs the insults he throws at him. What inspires the insults? It comes from the same people, who, not so long-ago lynched Minister Lindiwe Sisulu when she expressed a world view that does not coincide with theirs. Clearly, Basson is displeased with the outcome of the JSC interviews for the position of Chief Justice and he has every right to be displeased. He laments certain questions to certain candidates, all of whom we hold in high regard. He is equally entitled to this too. We are of the view that the insults are unnecessary, nevertheless.

Regrettably, Basson employs the old condescending device by white power when insulting us. In the hope that they, like some, crave white approval, he draws a line between Mpofu on the one hand and the likes of Semenya, Ntsebeza and Mtshaulana on the other. Ntsebeza, Semenya and Mtshaulana can never join him as he insults one of their own. He, as the superior one, arrogates to himself the knowledge of what Mpofu and Malema had in their minds.

It is ironic that Basson descends to gratuitous insults in order to challenge what he views as insulting and unfair to certain candidates. Many like Basson are just unhappy that an African woman, Justice Maya, was recommended and have conjured up a plethora of excuses and feeble legal argument to justify what is at best their displeasure or at worst, their prejudice. Ironically, it is they, the self-appointed super democrats, and not Mpofu, who may be driven by "misogyny". We will defend both Mpofu and Justice Maya and we consider it a national disgrace that after 27 years of almost five male Chief Justices since the democratic breakthrough, there is opposition disguised as constitutionalism, to a recommendation we should all celebrate.

We may be dealing with embedded journalism, which means we may be dealing with journalists who are actually embedded with interests that have always sought to direct South Africa towards a neo-liberal reality, and away from the goal of creating a free society, a society that is the antithesis of the neo-apartheid state we live in. No white legal practitioner, no matter what crook or rapist they represent has ever been attacked or insulted by the likes of Basson and his ilk. They reserve their attacks for African professionals because they arrogate to themselves the role superior to Africans, whom they see as sub-human.

One of the things betrayed by the attitude in Basson's article is the extent to which social, political and economic reality is dominated by another reality — the fact that whiteness has become South Africa's new majority, whose world view, and ways of being have become the dominant reality in our neo-apartheid state. The agenda is to make sure that the interests of the new cultural majority are imposed, enforced, promoted and maintained .

One of the ways in which this happens is through the imposition of an echo-chamber, which, in the main, is governed by a cannon of rational opinion, and anything that falls outside this cannon is base, immoral and irrational, and anything that falls outside this cannon is as barbaric as what the white colonizer imagined the African to be. This is a logic of whiteness which is the offspring of coloniality, a logic that is governed by the belief that those who are not white are not as human as those who are, and it is therefore not immoral to visit upon them the barbarism of racist and demeaning insults.

It is actually in defense of this barbarism, which today exists as neo-apartheid that people like Basson can, with no sense of irony, engage in the double-standard we see in his article. At the centre of this tendency is the arrogance of whiteness, an arrogance that seeks to keep the land, the economy, the rule of law and the legal profession in the control of certain sections white people and the minority classes that support them. Furthermore, this is a tendency that is borne out of the arrogance of some among us, who have arrogated to themselves the position of super democrats who are the high priests and priestesses, masters, guardians and custodians of modernity, democracy and constitutionalism.
Only through what their world view and what they imagine to be democratic does democracy exist. Anything that resides outside their imagination and does not coincide with their self-righteous notions of democracy is undemocratic, and those who dare challenge their illusory and self-serving notions of democracy are the barbarians at the gate. One of the challenges facing South Africa today is a network of whiteness, propagated through the mainstream media, which transcends ideology, parties and political interests. In many ways, it even transcends race, in so far as some of its allies are people who are on the periphery of whiteness, but through assimilation into its culture, have become adept at mimicking its disdain towards blackness, its grammar and its superior tone and have therefore become its useful idiots.

We are disappointed by the language used by Basson against Mpofu and understand that it represents, not only his attitude towards Mpofu, but also reflects the inherited prejudice against African people. His language and insults are part of the culture reserved for black professionals. No white professional, no matter how uncultured, and no matter who they represent, has had to endure these kinds of insults.

Basson occupies a very important and influential media space and should use that space more sensitively than to propagate his own insults towards Mpofu. We request Basson to reconsider, not his views, because he is entitled to them, but the painful import of his insults against Mpofu, and by extension, against all of us.

We call on Basson, News 24 and all the NGO's of super democrats and certain sections of the media to be more responsible in their natural instinct to dislike African people like Mpofu. This campaign and political vendetta against Mpofu and other senior African advocates are unhelpful for our country. They detract from the real mission of creating a truly free society for people in the land of their birth.

We know how it feels to face the wrath and organized persecution by an army of journalists and commentators as they consistently pour scorn on all of us. While we do expect the attacks that will come our way as a result of this statement, we state that the degrading and demeaning adjectives are unhelpful. We call upon all progressive structures in the legal profession to join us in defending Mpofu and ourselves against these attacks.

Source - online
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