News / South Africa

Charles Cilliers
4 minute read
14 Aug 2018
6:53 pm

BLF announces its own private prosecutions unit

Charles Cilliers

The group says they will mainly be targeting allegedly dodgy white businesspeople who have been overlooked by the NPA.

BLF members are pictured ahead of the start of a protest to the KPMG head-offices in Johannesburg, 28 September 2017. The protest follows a groundswell of criticism against the audit firm following its withdrawal of the SARS rogue unit report. Picture: Refilwe Modise

Black First, Land First (BLF) announced on its website on Tuesday that the group will be pursuing private prosecutions against allegedly dodgy white people who slip through the National Prosecuting Authority’s net, particularly when it comes to corporate crime.

However, they will also be targeting other alleged white criminals they claim have been getting an easy ride.

Their move comes more than a year and a half after Afrikaner lobby group AfriForum announced their own private prosecutions unit, headed by advocate Gerrie Nel.

AfriForum has since pursued a number of high-profile individuals they believe the state has not prosecuted despite their allegedly being prima facie cases against them to answer for. Among those they’ve targeted have been EFF leader Julius Malema and National Council of Provinces speaker Thandi Modise.

AfriForum and the BLF have been grave enemies for some time. BLF Andile Mngxitama last month warned AfriForum that they shouldn’t again make an appearance at former president Jacob Zuma’s son Duduzane Zuma’s next court hearing scheduled for later this month, which AfriForum has said they will not abide by.

When Mngxitama first encountered AfriForum’s CEO, Kallie Kriel, outside the Randburg Magistrates’ Court last month, an altercation ensued between their respective members following Duduzane Zuma’s appearance on two counts of culpable homicide.

The former president’s son faces two charges of culpable homicide in connection with a 2014 car crash, as well as an alternative charge of negligent driving. The NPA reviewed its decision to charge the young Zuma after AfriForum said it would privately prosecute him if the NPA didn’t.

Kriel questioned where the BLF was getting its funding and whether the organisation was still part of the “Gupta cabal”. BLF members shouted at the AfriForum leader, calling him a racist who should go back to Holland.

The BLF’s Lindsay Maasdorp wrote on Tuesday that their private prosecutions unit was inspired by an allegedly racist-dominated climate in the legal system.

“Racists continue to improvise even under a constitutional dispensation that seeks to safeguard and protect the rights of everyone. The new dynamic is well encapsulated in the name adopted by one of the NGOs, Freedom Under Law (FUL). Properly construed, this name implies that the constitution has afforded racists the freedom to continue to oppress and suppress blacks. They do so now under and within the framework of the constitution, which is the supreme law of the country.”

He claimed such “racist NGOs” brought cases before the judiciary on the basis of “racism, or at least racial bias, and there is nothing the courts can do about that”.

He added: “One needs to look no further than those that have been taken to court by FUL and AfriForum.  Their targets are all black people or people who are or perceived to be of a certain political affiliation. Those NGOs will never demand prosecution of General Johan Booysen for the massacre of about 28 people during the reign of terror of the Cato Manor death squad of the South African Police Service. To the contrary they project him as a hero. And the list is endless.”

The allegations of being part of a death squad against Booysen have never been tested, since the case has been delayed amid an apparently interminable unresolved legal battle between the NPA and Booysen.

Maasdorp said they could not allow racists to “wreck havoc in this country [sic]”.

“Pro-democracy forces must rise up and fight to create an equal and just society. Anti-democracy forces cannot be allowed to have free reign to reverse our gains by practicing racism under the guise of the rule of law.”

He said the main area of focus for their private prosecution unit would be cases the NPA “are sitting on that involve serious white-collar corruption”.

He claimed the NPA was against its embattled advocates Nomgcobo Jiba and Lawrence Mrwebi – who are fighting to keep their jobs – because the two had “seniority, experience, firmness and fairness in ensuring justice and equality for all” and were “not white psychopaths and take no instruction from the white masters”.

He claimed the numerous negative reports about the two were “postulations of propagandists through the media”.

Maasdorp said that if the BLF didn’t do anything, South Africa would be “in for a decade-long period of oppression and repression of black people by whites through the rule of law, which includes selective racially based litigation and prosecution”.

Private prosecutions can be brought in the event the NPA issues a certificate of “non-prosequi”, meaning they have no further intention to prosecute.

There has been one successful private prosecution brought in South Africa, involving the murder of a woman by her boyfriend.