Politics, South Africa, World

President Trump, SA’s white right’s white knight?

President Trump, SA’s white right’s white knight?

Steve Hofmeyr and Donald Trump. It’s a match made… well, somewhere. Organisers of a crowdfunding campaign to send Afrikaans singer Hofmeyr to Washington to meet Trump claim that their appeal is developing momentum. The aim of the meeting? For Hofmeyr to sit down with Trump and persuade him that white genocide in South Africa is real. By REBECCA DAVIS.

President-elect of the United States Donald Trump may have a sketchy grasp of geopolitics, but he has voiced some strong opinions about South Africa in the past.

I really like Nelson Mandela but South Africa is a crime-ridden mess that is just waiting to explode – not a good situation for the people!” he tweeted in December 2013.

Two years later, his opinion hadn’t changed. A 2015 tweet read: “As I have long been saying, South Africa is a total – and very dangerous – mess. Just watch the evening news (when not talking about weather).”

It’s views like these that have led South Africa’s white right to believe that the president-in-waiting might be the white knight they have been waiting for. Trump’s election victory was hailed with delight by the likes of Hofmeyr – and now his followers seem willing to put their money where his mouth is.

A campaign to send Hofmeyr and farmers’ rights activist Henk van de Graaf to Washington to meet with Trump has raised over R13,000 thus far. That’s a far cry from the R100,000 the campaign is aiming for, but organisers say the money is coming in steadily.

The project is the brainchild of a Facebook group called Kommando Support, run by a man who goes by the name John Dex Rudman. The group believes that white genocide in South Africa is real and that rates of farm murders are being systematically covered up and under-reported.

Van de Graaf told Daily Maverick that Rudman approached him to ask if he would meet with Trump because he has three times addressed the UN on “minority issues” and has twice addressed the European Parliament on farm murders.

He asked me, as I have some international experience, if I would be willing to go and see Mr Trump,” Van de Graaf said. “The idea is: let’s have a talk, if that’s possible, about the problems we have in South Africa, about farm murders and crime in general and the position of the Afrikaner.”

Van de Graaf said the appeal is being made to the international community now after meetings with the South African government failed.

I was part of the [Afrikaner] delegation which had a meeting with [ANC deputy president] Cyril Ramaphosa about self-determination and minority rights. Then we saw that the government is not at all willing [to uphold these rights]. In the world we see that there is a very strong sense for the protection of minorities, so the world is very aware even though our own government does not support it. If we could get Mr Trump interested to recognise the rights of South African minorities, I think he can give some help and support.”

What is it exactly that they hope Donald Trump can do for white Afrikaners? The thinking here seems a little muddled. Kommando Support has launched a petition asking the future President Trump to “grant the white people of South Africa their independence”.

The petition claims:

We and the Koisan [sic] are the original natives of South Africa and were here since 1652. No other people were here since Jan van Riebeeck arrived except the Koisan living from the sea in the Western Cape.”

Van de Graaf makes no mention of appealing to Trump for independence, however. He says their aim is to persuade Trump and other world leaders to slap sanctions on the leadership of the ANC for their lack of attention to the problem of farm murders in particular.

After [Zimbabwean president] Mr Mugabe started his land grab, the world was very quick to impose personal sanctions on Mugabe so he could not travel any more, or have European bank accounts and so on,” Van de Graaf says. “I think that is what we would like to see – that the world also imposes personal sanctions on Mr Zuma and some of his colleagues who don’t pay enough attention.”

In its quest to gain the ear of President Trump, Kommando Support says it has one major card up its sleeve: a personal contact in the Trump camp. The group is staying mum on who this individual might be.

It is not implausible that such a contact might exist, however. One prominent Trump supporter in the US who has repeatedly tweeted his belief in South Africa’s white genocide is alt-right troll Mike Cernovich. Shortly after Trump’s electoral victory, unsubstantiated rumours began to circulate online that Trump was considering Cernovich as ambassador to South Africa.

White genocide in South Africa is real,” Cernovich tweeted shortly afterwards. “Said that for years, and I’ll say it now. If nominated for ambassadorship, I’ll say it to Congress.”

Cernovich has visited South Africa before and boasted about having “many contacts” in the country. Late last year he also put out a call for an independent American journalist to travel to South Africa to investigate the alleged white genocide situation.

Van de Graaf would not be drawn on the identity of their Trump contact, saying only that he believes their chances of securing an audience with Trump were “good”.

When Daily Maverick asked why Trump would be exercised about minority rights in South Africa when he has shown little concern for minority rights in the US, Van de Graaf paused.

Well, that we will have to see,” he said. He added that Trump’s internal policies were of little relevance.

Hofmeyr is currently on holiday and therefore unavailable, but he SMSed Rapport newspaper confirmation of his willingness to undertake the mission. Hofmeyr also said that if the DA’s Solly Msimanga could undertake “’n ongesanksioneerde besoek” (an unauthorised trip) to Taiwan, he saw no reason why he and Van de Graaf could not embark on “’n nieamptelike tete-a-tete” (an unofficial tête-à-tête) to the White House.

Van de Graaf says that sufficient money for his and Hofmeyr’s flights should be collected within the next fortnight or so. On the Kommando Support Facebook page, there has been some grumbling as to why a wealthy celebrity like Hofmeyr cannot pay for his own ticket to Washington.

I know Steve quite well and I know that he has had some personal sanctions against him so he has also had some financial setbacks,” Van de Graaf said.

Kommando Support claims to have previously collected money to buy more than R300,000 worth of paintball guns and “glass breaker balls” to be used in self-defence for “their people”.

On Facebook, the group boasted: “A lethal combination and no licence required”. DM

Photo: President-elect Donald J Trump, Steve Hofmeyr.

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