19 May 2007 - Ronnie Kasrils mocks the Terrorism Act
South Africa’s Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act (33 of 2004) is a strange piece of legislation. The Act affirms South Africa’s commitment to a variety of tough-sounding international conventions, like the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages, and so on.
But there is a little disclaimer at the beginning, a bizarre exclusion for “action during an armed struggle, in the exercise or furtherance of . . . legitimate right to national liberation.” That enormous loophole, wide enough to drive a truck bomb through, invalidates the rest of the law. Effectively, it allows the government to apply the law to some and not to others, based on its ideological preferences.
Yet a loophole can only stretch so wide, and perhaps not wide enough for Minister of Intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, whose recent visit to, support of, and invitation to the Hamas government in the Palestinian Authority may be a violation of the Act he is duty-bound to uphold. Hamas, of course, continues to launch rocket attacks against Israeli civilians and to threaten and attempt kidnappings and suicide bombings.
Kasrils continues to write really abominable stuff about Israel—complete lies, fed to him by the Holocaust deniers at the jihadist Media Review Network, whom Kasrils acknowledges as his source of information: “I wish to place on my record my appreciation of the Media Review Network for providing me with much of the material referred to,” he said in a speech in Johannesburg back in 2002.
In any other country—certainly one about to host a massive world event such as the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup—Kasrils would have been fired. He has also personally endorsed tyrants like Castro in Cuba, Ahmedinejad in Iran and Mugabe in Zimbabwe. In South Africa, Kasrils tried (and failed) to overthrow the apartheid government by force even after Mandela had been released and talks were starting.
Now, it seems, he may have flouted one of the laws he is meant to be enforcing. A prosecution would be unlikely—but it is interesting that the government, through the SABC, recently emphasized the potential union between Hamas and the PLO. The latter is recognized as an official liberation movement; the former is not. Perhaps the government is waking up to the legal and diplomatic consequences of Ronnie’s radicalism.