11 June 2018

South Africa: Afrikanerbond Still Worried About 'Land Issue', Despite Ramaphosa Address

The Afrikanerbond says it remains concerned about "the land issue", after President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the organisation on these matters on Thursday evening at its centenary celebration.

In a statement on Monday, Afrikanerbond secretary Jan Bosman described the event, attended by several hundred people at the Rhebokskloof Wine Estate outside Wellington in the Cape Winelands, as "historic".

"We also want like to reiterate our thanks and appreciation to President Ramaphosa, who engaged with the Afrikanerbond and shared his vision with us at a time of political uncertainty," he said.

The Afrikanerbond was previously known as the Broederbond, a secret society of white, Afrikaans, Calvinistic men who clandestinely controlled the political, economic and cultural levers of apartheid South Africa.

In a frank speech, Ramaphosa said that, for millions of South Africans, the Broederbond was an instrument of misery and hardship, but that the Afrikanerbond should unify and help South Africa to progress.

He asked them to back land reform, saying it would be to the benefit of the whole country.

Ramaphosa also said: "Afrikaners are by name and by definition Africans. They are as part and parcel of the South African nation as any other community. Their language, their culture, their needs and their aspirations are no less important - and no more important - than those of their compatriots."

Bosman said: "This affirmation must be welcomed, because there has been enormous alienation or polarisation over the past few years."

He said they had extended an invitation to Ramaphosa to hear first-hand from him what his views were on important issues like the economy, agriculture and land ownership, as well as his vision for South Africa.

"Many of these challenges have been highlighted by President Ramaphosa in his speech at the Afrikanerbond's Bondsraad. Although we wanted to learn more about the issues that we are particularly worried about, we received an invitation for further discussions," said Bosman.

"This will most definitely be pursued, as the Bondsraad expressed further concerns about the land issue, as well as Afrikaans education, during subsequent discussions. Although the President has broadly referred to these issues, there is still great uncertainty."

Bosman said the Afrikanerbond has always been solution-oriented in terms of South Africa's problems and challenges and would, therefore, be willing to find solutions through dialogue.

"We are well aware that criticism has been raised that the Afrikanerbond cannot speak on behalf of all Afrikaners. We have never claimed as much and we will never do so. Our members, however, are all Afrikaners and it is on this basis that we want to play a role, because we need to care for their interests across various spheres of society," said Bosman.

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