Arrest ANC MP for comments on Zuma billboard: Cope
Calling his behaviour “unacceptable‚ politically irresponsible and morally condemnable"‚ the Congress of the People (Cope) on Monday called for the arrest and prosecution of African National Congress (ANC) member of Parliament (MP) Bongani Mkongi.
Cope’s Dennis Bloem said the charges should include “incitement to violence‚ arson and the possibility of murder” for his social media comments on the controversial “Zuma Must Fall” banner in Cape Town.
ANC supporters on Saturday removed the billboard which was erected a day earlier.
Prior to ANC supporters storming the building‚ Mkongi said on Facebook: “Join the ANC in Cape Town today at 14h00 to burn down the billboard saying 'ZumaMustFall'. The billboard must not be lifted down‚ but‚ burnt down."
When it was pointed out that the people inside the apartment “will burn to death”‚ Mkongi replied: "They must burn to death as it is life for them to keep it that way."
Bloem said of these posts: “No person who is elected as an MP and therefore sworn to uphold the Constitution can openly and brazenly incite people to commit an illegal act of tearing down a ‘Zuma must fall’ banner that someone had unlawfully hung on the side of the building and set that building on fire.
“His call for the innocent residents of the building to be burnt along with the building is a new low in South African politics. Where is the ruling party recruiting its MPs from and what sort of sifting is it doing?”
“The ANC has not done itself any favour either. Its response has been totally inadequate and indulgent. It did not register the sense of shock at the depravity of ‘They must burn to death as it is life for them to keep it that way.’
“If this is how a lawmaker in the ruling party's ranks can think and respond and his party fails to make an example of him‚ hope is lost.”
Bloem said Cope calls for police to arrest Mkongi and suggested the ANC should suspend him and withdraw him as a MP “until his case is concluded in court”.
Mkongi appeared to have been chastised by the ANC’s chief whip in Parliament‚ Stone Sizani and he later took to Facebook to apologise: “Today I posted a Facebook message imploring activists residing in the Western Cape to converge in town and pull down a #ZumaMustFall banner‚ which I believe was offensive‚ provocative‚ racially polarising and has potential to incite political violence.
“I will never call for or incite violence‚ and indeed the removal of the banner today was peaceful. Therefore‚ while I stand by my post that the banner must fall‚ and I am pleased that it fell‚ I apologise for the second part of my message that suggested the banner must burn with the building.”
Meanwhile‚ despite the threat of prosecution for illegally erecting the billboard‚ the group behind it claimed it had been a success.