Skip to Content

Wessel Basson with the effigy of Panyaza Lesufi. Photo supplied.

Jail sentence for satirical protest in South Africa?

As freedom of speech in South Africa dies a slow death, protestors against the country's authoritarian government increasingly risk jail sentences for "showing disrespect".

Published: April 28, 2018, 6:07 am

    Read more

    Wessel Basson, an Afrikaner activist who made an effigy of a black politician in South Africa, might be the next person to end up in jail for disrespecting someone in authority. Basson hung a life-size doll meant to represent Panyazi Lesufi, MEC for education in the Gauten Province, outside the department of education’s national headquarters in Pretoria. Now there are calls for him to be charged with crimen injuria, the same “crime” that got Mrs. Vicki Momberg  a three-year jail sentence for using the word “kaffir” about a black policeman.

    Panyaza Lesufi wants to extirpate the Afrikaans language in Gauteng schools by swamping such schools with immigrant children from all over Africa, which prompted Mr. Basson’s two-man protest outside the education department.

    Usually, South Africa’s mainstream media ignore protests by whites or Afrikaners, but this time there has been a flurry of reporting on Basson’s “racist” act. Lesufi himself tweeted that the protestors were “morons” whose “grandparents” were defeated.

    South Africa’s ruling party, the ANC, who likewise almost never takes cognisance of any complaints or criticisms by the country’s white citizens, reacted angrily to the effigy in a statement. The provincial spokesman for the party, Motalatale Modiba, denounced the protest as a blatant opposition to the government policy of replacing members of the white race with blacks, officially known as “transformation”.

    “This brazen act by anti-transformation agents flies in the face of the supremacy of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which advocates for equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms including non-racialism.

    “It follows several threats Comrade Panyaza has been receiving together with his family after the ANC-led government’s decision to change the language policy at certain schools in the province from Afrikaans only to parallel medium schools.”

    Modiba urged Lesufi, and the Gauteng and national departments of education to lay a charge with police against Wessel Basson and his accomplice, so that they may be imprisoned. The offense caused by the effigy was seen as similar to using a racial epithet in relation to blacks, which may soon be punishable with a sentence up to ten years, if new “hate-speech” legislation becomes promulgated.

    The South African minister of government communications, Nomvula Mokonyane, said that the two white men “should be isolated”.

    She said that their protest was tantamount to “hate speech” which was punishable by law.

    “Action must be taken,” she said. “They must be isolated by all of us. I call on all patriotic white South Africans to stand up and say: ‘Not in my name’.”

    When FWM spoke to Wessel Basson, he was unperturbed about the official threats to have him locked up. “I am simply articulating a legitimate grievance,” he said. “Panyaza Lesufi is the racist, not me. He is well-known for his arrogant attitude and racist attacks, particularly on Afrikaans schools that are attended by our children. We are demanding that he should be immediately fired.”

    According to Bassson, he “did not do anything racist”. He continued: “I am not going to apologise either, not for one moment. However, what I find shocking, is that we now have mass hysteria about our likeness of Lesufi, but there is no concern about farm murders and killing of our people in rural areas on a daily basis.”

    “Panyaza Lesufi is an ignorant, arrogant bastard,” said Mr. Wessel Basson. “Where is our freedom of speech? They don’t know what freedom of speech is. They only see it as something that suits them. If they want to send me to prison for making this doll, then there would be no fairness or legality left. Then we are living in an authoritarian, totalitarian society.”

    Basson complained that Lesufi and the education department never replied to any of his letters or petitions. “They blatantly ignored all of our petitions, whether they concerned state corruption, Afrikaans or the education system. They just ignore everybody, blatantly. Is that what ‘democracy’ is supposed to be? Not being accountable to citizens at all?”

    Due to the lack of response by government, “South Africa is sitting on a time bomb,” Basson concluded.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    Africa

    South African Police Minister agrees to release farm murder stats

    PretoriaThe South African Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, and the Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, indicated that they would once again release statistics on farm attacks and murders after eleven years of silence on the burning issue as international pressure builds.

    South Africa: Land occupation intensifies

    South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has received a donation of R858 million from the United Kingdom, while the country is increasingly struggling to attract foreign investment in a climate of investment insecurity and faltering economic growth after the ANC leader promised white land grabs.

    SA govt pension fund to bail out leftist media

    Massive turn-out for anti-genocide protest in Perth, Australia

    Native Australians and immigrant South Africans joined hands in protesting the killing of farmers and white genocide in South Africa on Sunday 8 April. A special report of the day was compiled by Free West Media.

    Glamorous terrorist Winnie Mandela, 81, dies

    The divorced former wife of Nelson Mandela has died and will be buried with full military honours, despite her criminal record in South Africa.

    South Africa: Vicki Momberg sentenced to 3 years for using ‘K-word’

    The Durban estate agent, Vicki Momberg, became the first person in South Africa to be sent to prison for using a racially offensive word, and not for an actual crime or any physical act.

    South Africa: Motion to confiscate white land without compensation passed

    PretoriaThe South African parliament voted this week to amend the Constitution to allow for the confiscation of land owned by the white minority without compensation.

    South Africa’s new president dashes hope of moderates

    Those still hoping that South Africa's new President, Cyril Ramaphosa, would represent a positive, new chapter for South Africa, had their hopes dashed on Wednesday.

    South African president Zuma resigns after party turns on him

    PretoriaSouth African president Jacob Zuma resigned on Wednesday after his party, the African National Congress (ANC) forced him to leave.

    South Africa: 143 mental patients dead in communist-style atrocity

    The Life Esidimeni scandal has demonstrated to what extent South Africa is emulating 20th-century communist societies, with 143 patients "dying of torture" in mental hospitals run by unlicensed NGOs, and another 55 simply "disappearing".

    Go to archive