Kleinfontein’s Afrikaner community ‘not about race’

The liberal Democratic Alliance protesting outside Kleinfontein

The Afrikaners-only community Kleinfontein outside Rayton, east of Pretoria, insisted in a debate with the DA on Thursday that the criteria for its residents were not based on race.

The community, which has existed for 21 years but came under the media’s spotlight this week, merely wanted to live out their values in seclusion, said controlling body chairman Jan Groenewald.

This would include providing themselves with their own “municipal” services.

“The people that have free access to Kleinfontein, who can apply, are Afrikaner. [They] are basically people who associate themselves with our Voortrekker history, the Blood River Covenant and all these historical facts relating to our struggle for independence for the Afrikaner people,” Groenewald told reporters.

The criteria to live in Kleinfontein was “based on cultural, language, traditional and religious beliefs”.

“You cannot use race as a base to determine anything,” said Groenewald.

The gated community, which covered almost 800 hectares, was in the spotlight this week following reports that Kleinfontein was a racially exclusive community.

On Thursday the Democratic Alliance Youth protested outside its gates.

The handful of youths were singing and dancing as they moved towards the gate to protest against the farm settlement’s policies.

Some held up placards reading: “Een nasie. Een toekoms (One nation. One future)”.

Guards in camouflage were stationed at the gates of the community. Also to be seen were some residents and a number of cars carrying the old Transvaal Republic flag, with an extra band of orange.

DA Youth leader Mbali Ntuli along with a few other members entered the community to speak with Kleinfontein leaders.

“We want to show you what South Africa looks like. We achieve nothing by creating secluded areas.”

But Groenewald insisted the Constitution allowed for the existence of their community.

He said Afrikaner self determination, as guaranteed by article 235 of the Constitution, was the cornerstone the community was built on.

“We feel that the discussion with the DA Youth and their leadership was eventually constructive.”

He said Kleinfontein was in discussion with the Tshwane municipality concerning service delivery.

“We would like to, as we have always done, deliver our own services.”

The community’s water was supplied by natural fountains and it bought its electricity in bulk from Eskom.

Local businessman Dannie de Beer said all construction and manual labour within Kleinfontein was done either by residents or workers approved by the board.

He said people had to apply for residency and were interviewed by a panel.

Kleinfontein, with about 1000 residents, has its own primary school, old age home and game reserve.

De Beer said Kleinfontein accommodated both rich and poor residents. He said often people would arrive at the gate with nothing more than a bag of clothes.

If they qualified they would be allocated a house in the caravan park and would usually work in Kleinfontein.

Single mother Ronelle Berrington explained she moved to Kleinfontein for her children.

“Your children have freedom of movement,” the mother of four said.

Fellow resident Gerhard Schutte, 34, said he has lived in Kleinfontein for seven years and owned his own business.

“When I was in school I became aware of Kleinfontein. It has been existing for 21 years. It was my desire to live here. It is how I want to live.”

He denied being racist, saying he just preferred living in the gated community as it prioritised his values and had no serious crime.

Double amputee Dries Oncke, who sustained his injuries when he was hit by a train almost 20 years ago, echoed these sentiments.

“I live here and I stay out of trouble.”

Orania Beweging president Carel Boshoff has since invited the DA Youth to visit Orania, the segregated Afrikaner community in the Northern Cape.