Complaints pour in over Andile Mngxitama's 'kill whites speech'

10 December 2018 - 16:55 By Iavan Pijoos
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Black Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama at Ghandi Square on July 7 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Black Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama at Ghandi Square on July 7 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Gallo Images / Beeld / Wikus de Wet

The SA Human Rights Commission said on Monday it had received multitudes of complaints through its social media platforms against Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama.

Commission spokesperson Gail Smith  said they were in the process of registering complaints against Mngxitama in accordance with their complaints handling procedures.

She said the commission would determine whether or not human rights had been violated and what steps should be taken to secure appropriate redress.

"The SAHRC calls on all within South Africa to assist in fostering a constitutional democracy, based in equality, dignity and freedom by refraining from utterances and actions which threaten social cohesion," said Smith.

Mngxitama came under fire at the weekend for his latest controversial remarks about the killing of white people.

During a rally in Potchefstroom, in the North West, on Saturday, Mngxitama threatened to kill five white people for every black person killed.

"You kill one of us, we will kill five of you. We will kill their children, we will kill their women, we will kill anything that we find on our way," Mngxitama said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who was speaking at the party's 2018 government review in parliament on Monday, condemned Mngxitama's statements. 

"It must be made clear up front that Mngxitama’s recent remarks are a violation of human rights and tantamount to hate speech. On Human Rights Day, and every other day ... hate speech must always be spoken out against. Mngxitama’s comments cheapen people's rights to human dignity which is a fundamental tenet of what liberal democracy depends on," Maimane said.

"This guarantee exists because we are human beings. It does not exist because we belong to a group or because we are any one individual," he added.

Lobby group AfriForum has instructed its legal team to prepare court documents to lay a charge of hate speech against Mngxitama. The court papers are expected to be filed at the Equality Court on Tuesday.

AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets said Mngxitama's latest remarks were "blatant hate speech and incitement of violence", and that the organisation would "fight it with the necessary earnestness".

In the court documents, AfriForum said it would request that Mngxitama be ordered to pay R500,000 to an organisation campaigning towards battling hate speech.

BLF has since defended its president, saying he had been speaking in the context of self-defence.

It was believed that Mngxitama had been responding to a statement by billionaire Johann Rupert about the taxi industry.

[Watch] Black First Land First (BLF) Movement held #MngxitamaHomecoming rally at Ikageng Stadium, Tlokwe, Potchefstroom on the 8th of December 2018.

Rupert mentioned during a recent and much-talked-about interview with Power FM that he had a long-time friend in the taxi industry whom he referred to as the chairman of the taxi association.

Rupert said: “Jabu [Eskom chairperson Jabu Mabuza] and I have one thing in common: He’s chairman of the [South African Black] Taxi Association and one of the first [partners] in Business Partners was the taxi association. So I also have my own army. When those red guys [EFF supporters] come, they’ve gonna have to remember the taxi association.”

The clip can be seen here.

Business Partners is the company the Ruperts started in 1981 to support small businesses. 

Mabuza was involved with the South African Black Taxi Association (SABTA) during and after apartheid. SABTA was established in 1979 and comprised of local taxi associations.

The EFF took exception and accused the billionaire of suggesting that people in the industry would protect him from the red berets.

This, according to BLF spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp, was inciting black-on-black violence and the BLF "couldn’t allow that to happen".

During his speech, Mngxitama told his supporters to retaliate should they be attacked by taxi bosses.

"Johann Rupert says if we touch him he is going to unleash upon us the taxi-industry people.

"Now here is a message to Johann Rupert: pay the taxi industry bosses, but here is the deal: for each one person that is being killed by the taxi industry, we kill five white people."

In a separate hate speech case against the BLF, the human rights commission's Jones said the matter was expected to be before the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on  January 29 2019.

"We are just waiting for BLF leadership to obtain legal representation so that we can proceed to trial."

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