AfriForum distances itself from Rocher comments: Daily Dispatch

WILHELM ROCHER, the farmer who was advertised and presented as an AfriForum leader at a public meeting in Gonubie, has been dumped by AfriForum and TAU SA.

Rocher and Jon Anderson were presented in a Daily Dispatch advert and at the meeting as representatives of AfriForum and TAU East London respectively.

However, AfriForum’s head of local government affairs, Pieter Rautenbach, said Rocher was an ordinary member who “has never held any leadership position in the organisation, neither did he have any right to arrange a public meeting to recruit members for AfriForum for whatever purpose without prior consent from AfriForum national”.

Rautenbach said they had contacted Rocher to tell him he has “no right or locus standi to act on behalf of AfriForum”.

He said they were also trying to find out what happened to completed membership forms handed out at the meeting.

Reacting to Rocher’s racially offensive remarks, Rautenbach said: “AfriForum distances itself from all forms of racism.

“The rights of all South Africans are important to us and we will not hesitate to stand up for the rights of any community in South Africa.”

TAU SA spokesman Henk van de Graaf said Rocher resigned as a member from TAU SA and as chairman of their Western Region three years ago.

Anderson was advertised and had presented himself as “TAU chairman, EL branch”, but TAU SA could not find his name on their membership data base.

Van de Graaf confirmed that a third speaker at the event, Louise Rossouw, was TAU SA’s Eastern Cape chairwoman.

He said: “She was not part of the guys who went racist and made threats to (DA Eastern Cape leader) Athol Trollip.”

Trollip said Rocher and Anderson had openly misrepresented themselves as representatives of AfriForum and TAU SA in the advert and at the meeting, and had made statements which were “alarmist, sensationalist and racist”.

Yesterday, Rocher denied representing himself as an AfriForum leader saying: “I said I am a member of a civic organisation, like AfriForum.”

However, he admitted that an advert placed in the Daily Dispatch ahead of the meeting had presented him as “AfriForum – Pretoria”, which was wrong.

He could not explain how the error came about.

Anderson also admitted he was not a TAU leader, saying “I am a former TAU member”. —