IEC warns BLF to refrain from further hate speech
The party runs the risk of being deregistered, scuppering its hopes of sending MPs to parliament next year after elections.
Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama briefs media at BLF Head Office in Johannesburg, 11 November 2018, on why BLF calls for 5 Whites for every 1 Black life and an announcement of steps to be taken to ensure self defence. Picture: Nigel Sibanda
In a letter sent to Black First Land First (BLF), dated Wednesday, the Independent Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) warns the party not to make any further statements that “constitute hate speech”.
Chief electoral officer Sy Mamabolo told the party’s secretary-general, Yerushka Chetty, that they had received numerous complaints about BLF leader Andile Mngxitama’s statements about the killing of white people, made at an event in Potchefstroom over the weekend.
Mamabolo said the IEC considered the statements hate speech, which were against both the national constitution and the BLF’s own constitution.
The IEC then demanded that the BLF and its leader refrain from any further such statements, without specifically saying what might happen if they do not.
The ANC on Wednesday also slammed Mngxitama’s utterances as a throwback to apartheid and racial divisiveness.
Mngxitama told journalists this week during the party’s media briefing that. should the IEC deregister the organisation, preventing it from contesting elections next year, the “movement” would take up arms.
During a rally on Saturday, Mngxitama called for the killing of five white people, including their pets, for every murder of a black person.
The BLF leader has since clarified his comments, saying they were in response to those made by the chair of Richemont, Johann Rupert, who said during a Power FM event last week that he had his own army in the form of the taxi association, which the “red guys” would have to be mindful of.
Mngxitama said the BLF would be “very happy” to provide clarity on his utterances at the weekend and that the party was willing to meet with the commission.
“The only reason there is so much uproar is because white people do not want to see BLF in parliament next year. White people don’t want for the first time to have a black party in parliament,” the BLF leader said, adding that this sector of South Africa’s society had exerted pressure on the IEC, hence its statement.
“But we also want to ask them [the IEC] this question: did they ask Freedom Front Plus to explain itself when in parliament it said if land expropriation without compensation becomes law, it [FF+] would start a civil war?”
With regards to funding for next year’s elections, Mngxitama said the BLF neither had money nor did it have benefactors such as Adriano Mazzotti, who had paid the EFF’s registration fee in 2014.
“We are broke. We represent the broke and the poor. We don’t have your Johann Rupert. Your Guptas, before I even spoke to them, you chased them out,” Mngxitama said.
However, he said the party had relied on crowdfunding to amass the deposit required by the IEC for it to contest elections next year and that, through pledges and money in their bank account, the BLF had raised R200,000 of the R600,000 required by the IEC.
Mngxitama said the R200,000 would at least qualify the BLF to contest the elections at national level.
He said the movement would not take money from white people, white monopoly capital and from black people who might have certain “conditions attached”.
Read the IEC’s letter below.