Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama has challenged allegations that he incited violence against white South Africans at a rally in Potchefstroom, North West, this weekend.
Mngxitama can be seen in video footage, circulating on social media, saying that for every black person killed by the taxi industry – under billionaire Johann Rupert’s instruction – the BLF will kill five white people.
“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 in our way,” Mngxitama says in the video.
On Tuesday, the BLF leader held a media briefing and denied that he was inciting violence against anyone, arguing instead that his comments were taken out of context.
“This is a blatant distortion of my remarks,” argued Mngxitama, as he went on to say the BLF was “a peaceful movement” that always exercised peace towards those who are peaceful towards it.
He, however, warned those who incited violence against black people that his movement was prepared to fight fire with fire.
Mngxitama explained that the remarks he made over the weekend were directed towards Rupert, who during Power FM’s second annual chairman’s interview alluded to having a long-time friend in the taxi industry and warned that should the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) try anything against him, he had his “own army”.
“When those red guys [the EFF] come, they should remember the taxi association,” said Rupert.
Mngxitama said this was a threat of violence against black people, which motivated his retaliation directed towards Rupert.
The BLF leader added that “the only reason there is so much uproar” over his comments is “because white people do not want to see the BLF in Parliament next year”.
He challenged the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) for calling on his organisation to explain its comments: “We will go and explain ourselves before the IEC, but we want to ask: did they ask the Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) to explain itself in Parliament when the party said if land expropriation without compensation becomes law it will start a civil war?”
Mngxitama’s woes do not end with the IEC, the SA Human Rights Commission on Monday confirmed receiving “multitudes of complaints” through its social media platforms against Mngxitama and said it would be investigating.
Lobby group AfriForum also confirmed that it has instructed its legal team to prepare court documents to lay a charge of hate speech against Mngxitama.
AfriForum deputy chief executive Ernst Roets described Mngxitama’s remarks as “blatant hate speech and incitement of violence”, and added that his organisation would “fight it with the necessary earnestness”.
In court documents filed today, AfriForum requested that Mngxitama be ordered to pay R500 000 to an organisation campaigning against hate speech.
FF Plus also opened a case of incitement of violence against Mngxitama at the Potchefstroom Police Station on Tuesday.