MiWay CEO René Otto
  • A right-wing storm erupted after the CEO of the short-term insurer MiWay tweeted about The Lost Boys of Bird Island.
  • René Otto was forced to issue a statement on Sunday evening after calls for a boycott of MiWay.
  • He said that he never implied that all Afrikaners are paedophiles and murderers.

The CEO of the short-term insurance company MiWay issued a lengthy statement on Sunday night following a week of social media attacks and boycott calls. René Otto's recent tweets about The Lost Boys of Bird Island, a book about apartheid-era paedophilia, triggered furious condemnation from right-wingers.

He was roundly criticised on social media, including by AfriForum CEO Kallie Kriel, who called for his resignation.

Earlier this year, Kriel came under fire for denying that apartheid was a crime against humanity.

A far-right critic, who calls himself a “Real Life Boer” last week launched a YouTube video calling on MiWay clients to object with the company for “demonising white South Africans”. The video has been downloaded more than 33,000 times.

Other people who objected to Otto's tweets included economist Mike Schüssler:

Some of the critics called on Santam, who owns a majority stake in MiWay, to intervene.

Following the vitriol on social media, Otto released a statement on Sunday night, saying that he never implied that all Afrikaners are paedophiles and murderers. "In fact, I regard the vast majority of Afrikaners as honourable, hard-working people who make a massive contribution to the country in all walks of life.

The tweets were an attempt to challenge Afrikaans-speaking South Africans to debate their role in nation building, but Otto said he "failed miserably". 

Last year, MiWay faced a storm of criticism after one of its employees supposedly called black people “baboons” in an email. In the end, the email turned out to be fake.

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