| Own Correspondent |
June 20 2004 at 11:13AM
New York - Controversial former South African journalist Jani Allan is back in the news again.
Allan, a former columnist whose relationship with the recently released Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging leader Eugene Terre' Blanche made headlines, claimed this week on United States radio that white South Africans and Afrikaners in particular were the target of a genocide campaign by President Thabo Mbeki's government.
Allan and the US radio talk show host, Jeff Rense, also issued a call to Americans to start sponsoring Afrikaner families as political refugees - to save the 4,5 million ethnic minority from the "genocide campaign" they face under the Mbeki government.
The call was made during Rense's radio show in the US - which has about seven million listeners coast-to-coast - on Thursday.
Allan claimed that Afrikaners were being "ethnically cleansed" and that their plight was growing increasingly desperate.
"More than 15 000 white South Africans have already died since the start of the Iraqi-American war," she alleged.
"That's more than twice as many as the people killed in the Iraq war."
She told listeners that Mbeki "has a total obsession with race, that he hates the Afrikaner people and that he is obsessed with what he terms 'colonial oppression'".
Allan said Afrikaners were not "colonials", having been in Africa for about 350 years. They were "totally trapped on the continent, and have no means of escaping".
An African National Congress spokesperson, Steyn Speed, dismissed Allan's comments as "nonsense".
"Anyone with half a brain will know that this woman's allegations are nonsense and not worth commenting on," he said.
Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesperson for the foreign affairs department, said the department would not respond to Allan's claims, as this would give her "undue attention she does not deserve".
Afrikaner intellectuals have also slammed Allan.
The author, Herman Giliomee, said Allan should not be taken seriously. While there had been large numbers of farm murders, there was no evidence to prove that the killings were an orchestrated political campaign, he said.
"Although the figure of farm killings is high, I don't think that could be described as ethnic cleansing," he said.
The head of the political department at Stellenbosch University, Amanda Gouws, said Allan should not to be taken seriously.
"If Afrikaners are becoming poorer and destitute, it's a case of class and economic issues, not a race issue," she said.
- This article was originally published on page 3 of Sunday Independent on June 20, 2004