Image: 123RF
Image: 123RF

Roger Southall lauds the Institute of Race Relations (IRR) for its unequalled research, but questions its continued status as “one of the foremost guardians of liberal values in SA” (“IRR now a right-wing agitator,” June 24).

He bases his argument on the IRR’s criticism of critical race theory (CRT) and defence of property rights. Yet in attacking CRT and upholding property rights, the IRR is deviating not an inch from the liberal positions it has steadfastly defended over the past 90 years.

CRT is a race essentialist theory, increasingly popular in the Western world, that reduces individuals to their race and then divides society along racial lines, just as apartheid did — an abhorrent notion that the IRR opposes for the same consistent reasons.

Southall further suggests the IRR has “switched from the defence of the rights of people to those of the rights of property” — a curious claim to make, since property does not have rights. People have rights, and one of those human rights — a foundational right, in fact — is the right to own property. Undermining the right to property leaves individuals naked and defenceless against predation by the powerful, including the state and its agents.

The IRR will continue as a steadfast guardian of the liberal values it has always upheld, such as nonracialism and human rights — including the right to own property.

John Endres
CEO-elect, IRR

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