The opposing affidavit of Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama, listed as the second respondent in a case in which the BLF, the first respondent, was accused of hate speech alongside several of the organisation’s members, continues the organisation’s recent “whataboutist” view that those involved in apartheid, such as FW de Klerk, should take the place of people such as Mngxitama and Duduzane Zuma in court.
On Wednesday, the BLF were accused of hate speech at the Johannesburg Equality Court. The case was brought by an individual called Lucy Strydom, represented by the South African Human Rights Commission.
It was postponed until September 20.
In the affidavit the BLF leader defends slogans such as “by any means necessary”, “take back the land”, “land or death” and “one settler, one bullet” as “legitimate slogans” in response to what he calls “The Black Holocaust”.
This coinage is meant to refer to apartheid and stands in contrast to ongoing claims from certain groups based both in South Africa and globally that a genocide of white people is being perpetrated in South Africa, particularly through farm attacks.
Minority lobby group AfriForum, while vocal in its view that the issue of farm murders in South Africa are not being adequately addressed, say they have not used the term and don’t believe what is happening in South Africa can be referred to as “genocide”.
“Where is her outrage against De Klerk, Vlok and Zille?” the affidavit asks at one point.
The Citizen reported that on July 12, BLF members called for former president FW de Klerk’s arrest after a court appearance by former president Zuma’s son Duduzane at the Randburg Magistrate’s Court.
Zuma is alleged to have negligently caused the death of two women in a car accident.
While taking De Klerk to task for his alleged apartheid crimes while dealing with an unrelated matter involving an entirely different person may strike a successfully populist chord among the BLF’s support base, it is unlikely to carry any legal weight.
It’s also worth mentioning that this support base is considered so small that it has become a joke on Twitter.
BLF have just walked in. The entire membership of the party is here. Andile Mngxitama, two supporters, his mom, a used condom tied to a stick and a piece of Baleka Mbete’s weave.
They tell us their membership has tripled.
— Lockdown Shebeen (@StateShebeen) July 12, 2018
In a statement released yesterday, the BLF stated that “white monopoly capital via the SAHRC wants the court to ban BLF”.
The Citizen reported on Wednesday that, to the best of our knowledge, the Equality Court, sitting in a magistrate’s court, would not have the power to ban an organisation.
“The weight and power to ban organisations would I believe only exist in the high court and upwards,” a clerk at the court told us.
A senior representative of the SAHRC confirmed this, saying “we don’t have the power to ban them and nor does the court”.
He did, however, confirm that the end goal of the case would be to have the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) revoke the BLF’s eligibility as a political party.
The SAHRC has made “an order in terms of section 212L of the Equality Act recommending that the IEC review the respondents’ eligibility for registration as a political party given the parties’ frequent violent threats to white people”.
The SAHRC believes the BLF’s “statements violate the Electoral Act”.
Rather than representing White Monopoly Capital, the SAHRC representative says Lucy Strydom is just a person who was offended by the BLF to the point of bringing a case to them, which they then chose to take on.
“She’s simply an individual like any other exercising their right to approach the organisation. We’ve done it before, as in the Vicki Momberg case, where we were co-actors playing a support role in the case.”
The commission, which is a body empowered by Chapter 9 of the Constitution – like the Office of the Public Protector – is simply the attorney in the case, said the representative, stressing “the commission here is not the applicant”.
The commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy by promoting respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.
Responding to the allegations that they are trying to ban the BLF altogether, the SAHRC representative said: “That isn’t true and they know it isn’t true.”
“They’re using rhetoric to misrepresent the facts,” he said, highlighting that the outcome of the complaint would be for a recommendation to be made to another body, “similar to how a matter can be referred to the NPA”.
“We don’t prosecute criminally; rather it’s about referring aspects of the matter to the correct channels,” he continued.
Regardless of the SAHRC’s attempts to have the BLF’s status as a political party revoked, Mngxitama on Wednesday confirmed the organisation’s commitment to contesting the 2019 elections.
The BLF leader also took to Twitter to accuse the SAHRC of being anti-black.
Meanwhile, someone on Twitter who appears to be a BLF supporter on Tuesday sent out two tweets proving that their use of “whataboutery” as a legal defence looks set to continue.
The tweets indicate that, in response to being taken to the Equality Court by the SAHRC, the BLF instead wants the commission to open cases of racism against De Klerk.