ANC MP Derek Hanekom. Picture: GCIS

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‘Baas’ Hanekom acts out his white privilege as an untouchable in the ANC!

White privilege, a right, advantage or immunity granted to or enjoyed by white persons beyond the common advantage of all others; is not about to die anytime soon for as long as Derek Hanekom exercises this as his inalienable right within the ANC in letting his white identity count.

Hanekom affords himself space, time and place to act as it pleases him, despite the ANC resolution to work for unity. He claims the right to be contrarian to the confirmed agreement that office bearers and the NEC of the 54th Conference resolved not to entertain any divisive comments and statements from ANC members and leadership since it committed to call those in and ask them why they engage in such.

Then again, we may have forgotten Hanekom is not your ordinary ANC member, he is firstly white (before you shoot me down read first), he is arguably the oldest white member in the NEC and cabinet and he is a senior member (something he reminded us a year ago) by virtue of the fact that he has held senior positions in the ANC including cabinet positions.

Hanekom is no stranger to controversy, he has consistently courted controversy if not shown complete ill-regard for organizational discipline as someone who vents and shares his opinions regardless of what impact it has on what or who.

Hanekom in a history of events stood accused of playing this divisive role in both the ANC – Western Cape and Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth area) ANC politics for an elongated period and it delivered its own negative impact on the performance of the ANC in these provinces.

We will remember how he as programme director of the Kathrada Funeral Programme proved grossly divisive in his statements pitting ANC leaders against each other at the funeral of the ANC stalwart and champion for non- racialism.

In May 2017 Hanekom defied the ANC leadership and ventured a public opinion on the decision of the ANC Leadership and Caucus on voting in a vote of no confidence motion against President Jacob Zuma. He later had to clarify his statement.

In August 2017, Hanekom was given 10 days to explain why he should be retained as chairperson of the ANC National Disciplinary Committee following a series of tweets from his account.  We will recall the letter by the then ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe claimed that Hanekom behaved in a less than neutral manner and therefore as an individual with his tweets was weakening the entire disciplinary machinery of the party. The then Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize, when interviewed on the subject, asserted that Mantashe as Secretary-General is empowered to initiate processes to have Hanekom replaced. We do not know if ‘Baas’ Hanekom ever honoured the secretary general’s letter and how this was concluded.

Hanekom is no more the chair of the ANC disciplinary committee, that position is now held by Edna Molewa. We can only surmise he was not retained in this position in the new era as a result of his lack of restraint and potentially for his personal lack of neutrality, therefore, proving a divisive character.

His most recent utterances on the need to shut ANN7 down stands in this now long tradition of an ill-disciplined member, one showing lack of restraint as a leader as Hanekom considers himself of special designation. His exact tweet, “Eish. The sooner ANN7 closes down the better. Giving such coverage to a person facing so many corruption charges; who brought our country to the brink of disaster and who thinks it’s okay, as a 76-year-old man, to get a 24-year-old girl pregnant…— Derek Hanekom (@Derek_Hanekom) April 21, 2018.

This tweet says so much and it is perhaps worth attempting an analysis. In the first instance Hanekom knows the ANC policy position of media freedom, he knows that every conference has underscored the defense and need for a free media. To, therefore, reiterate the need for shutting down ANN7 only because he as an individual disagrees with its content or those it invites to its panels as participants show the intolerance of Hanekom in stark contrast to his claims of being a Democrat. Hanekom has never demanded that eNCA is shut down despite the latter acting in the same vein as ANN7. Hanekom as ANC member, leader and cabinet minister with this tweet continues to bring both his party and democracy into disrepute.

Secondly, beyond showing the vile bitterness of deep-seated hate for a former ANC and SA president Jacob Zuma, it confirms Hanekom inadvertently show his high intolerance for an open debate on land. He fails to engage anything raised by Zuma on the land issue. He clearly has a right to disagree with Zuma or anyone, but Hanekom’s intolerance of Zuma as a person blinds him to remotely entertain the content. His terse reply to former president Zuma’s Black Caucus address shows the lack of tolerance hardly, a democratic value to share if you are a senior leader and cabinet minister in the ANC or in constitutional democratic SA. One wonders where Hanekom stands on the land debate. You will recall, that when the motion of land expropriation without compensation was entertained early in March the motion stood with 241- 83, we know many ANC members of parliament did not vote or were not present.

We do not have to doubt ‘Baas’ Hanekom on the land issue because his views are public. We know that at the ANC Policy Conference in June 2017 ‘Baas’ Hanekom called ANC delegates in support of land expropriation without compensation crazy.

 

He was forced to retract this senseless statement and he expressed a very reluctant apology for his remarks, but he the next day attending an Agri-Forum Conference, held at Emperor’s Palace, did not nothing but mocked the very same apology.

 

He said to white farmers and land owners in attendance at the Agri-Forum Conference that they know what his views on land expropriation are, but due the fact that he had to apologize for such at the ANC Policy Conference he is not at liberty to share his views with them. This was accompanied by much sarcastic laughter.

 

We can go to an earlier epoch 1994-1999 when Hanekom served as Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs, we must ask him what his contribution and leadership on redress of land was during that time as the first minister in that portfolio.  The former SACP member appears very soluble on land issues.

 

Thirdly, Hanekom’s tweet evidence is a very shallow grasp what constitutes laws be it traditional or conventional in the South African setting. The relationship between Ms. Conco and former president Zuma is nowhere abhorred or called to question by any of the families hence we know a marriage is planned. Also, no conventional law is broken by the relationship of intimacy shared by the pair, since Ms. Conco is a consenting adult constitutionally empowered to make her own decisions a right Derek Hanekom equally shares in. The subject of morality simply does not stand as dragged in through the backdoor of the European mind. On behalf of whose morality is Hanekom speaking in this regard?

What Hanekom is not honest about is on the many men in the ANC who despite claiming a public ethic of single marriage uphold, have been guilty of affairs with young ladies, some even raising children and never owning up to their responsibility for which the neo-moralist Hanekom was silent. His own questionable relations with a journalist does not strike him as odd if he seeks to bring the subject of age into the equation. Instead of celebrating a man who is owning up to his fatherhood, Hanekom is overtaken by his cancerous bitterness towards Zuma and that is what informs his opinions he can hardly be objective.

To, therefore, talk about a 76-year-old man impregnating 24-year-old shows the shallow sensationalism of a white mind who has always appropriated a right to think for those deemed black. Hanekom must tell us if his claim against Zuma is also leveled at Tokyo Sexwale who also not so long ago impregnated a much younger lady with whom he shares romantic relations? Why was the moral Hanekom silent then? Does his silence in this instance and his laudability now show you the hypocrisy of this mind? The ANC is replete with people who have fathered children with younger women and it was never an issue, from where this cheap attack?

Hanekom is therefore either lazy in his analysis or is so blinded by his personal hate that he omits to acknowledge that Zuma made it public he will marry for the last time, long before the news of the child was public, and the families are engaging on such planned marriage.

Lastly, in an organisational setting such as the ANC, that manifests clear chasms and lingering factional divides given the elections results of the 54th Conference and its resolutions on working for unity, Hanekom’s tweet on former President Zuma addressing at the Black Caucus on the subject of land is not just distasteful, but in complete defiance of the overarching aims of the 54th Conference. He thus acts in vintage Hanekom divisive style and is afforded the latitude while invoking his seniority in the ANC.

Does Hanekom behave in this fashion because he knows the ANC’s disciplinary processes attest a weakness and inconsistency that he may have contributed to?

White privilege is also understood as, “a privileged position; the possession of an advantage white persons enjoys over non-white persons”. It does not take rocket science to decipher this ringing true for Derek Hanekom within the African National Congress.

I will postulate it is not necessarily his claimed seniority that anchors the attitude and mind of a Hanekom, it is really his ‘baaskap’ extracted directly from his whiteness of identity that he leans on to afford him to act out that white privilege.  If we are abhorred by the tweets from Helen Zille why are we tolerant of Hanekom’s? These tweets are not mutually exclusive but stem from the same mind. Zille never supported the National Party, she even claims to have been supporting Steve Biko, yet her tweets tell another story.

While many in the ANC attempt uniting the movement, ‘Baas’ Hanekom continues his characteristic divisive style of factional mind in leading the ANC and government, exuding the triumph of those who consider themselves having won in December 2017.  He is aided by having being returned to his position as a cabinet minister under the new leadership.

It is time to ask how fit Hanekom really is to lead anything in the ANC and if he should not long have been called to a proper disciplinary hearing, so as to rescue the ANC from his now known errant behaviour and attitude. On another score, it appears Hanekom warrants being liberated from his white supremacy mind of divide and rule.

If the ANC is taking itself seriously on the subject of organisational discipline it should long have convened a hearing to discipline Baas Hanekom. After all, it was ready to deal with the now politically retired Makhosi Khoza, the black woman. It also has dealt before with other blacks like Malema etc, who equally behaved in disregard for the ANC and its organisational fundamentals.  Why this imbalance of extraordinary patience with Hanekom, is it because he is white?

Clyde N. S. Ramalaine
Political Commentator & Writer Chairperson of TMoSA Foundation

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