Misogyny and racism have found a comfortable home in the ANC, says DA national spokeswoman Lindiwe Mazibuko.

Speaking at a Cape Town Press Club event on Tuesday, Mazibuko laid into the ANC for failing to act against those within its ranks who spouted racism and sexism.

Mazibuko drew on a number of incidents that took place during the municipal elections, including Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s reference to DA leader Helen Zille, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille and Mazibuko as “a madam and two stooges” on account of their faces appearing on the DA’s election posters.

“(This is) presumably because, in minister Nzimande’s own warped mind, a white woman, a coloured woman and a black woman cannot possibly relate to one another as equals,” she said.

Mazibuko noted that Nzimande was never taken to task for his comments and that he was duly followed down the path of racist rhetoric by other members of the governing party. She recounted her experience with ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, who infamously refused to debate with her on radio, saying he would not debate with “the madam’s tea girl”.

She also referred to ANC MP and Young Communist League leader Buti Manamela’s “vitriolic diatribe” in which he referred to black supporters of the DA as “monkeys doing the bidding of their masters” and the utterances of Nceba Faku, the ANC’s man in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, who exhorted his supporters to burn down the offices of the Eastern Cape Herald.

He also, according to Mazibuko, “declared that black South Africans who voted for the DA should go to Europe or be driven into the sea”.

The ANC had distanced itself from Faku’s incitement to arson, but remained mum about his racist comments, she noted. Mazibuko was invited to speak on the theme, Is South African politics really only about black politics?

“Some people in South Africa really do want to make this country’s politics about ‘black politics’ only. Not all are in the ANC, and not all of those in the ANC want this. But since the party has failed categorically to repudiate the words of those who peddle the politics of racial division in its name, we can only surmise that it hopes to capitalise on division for electoral success, while at the same time preaching non-racialism and claiming a commitment to the values of a glorious past,” she said.

Mazibuko said the “divisive, racial” path chosen by some politicians was an easy path.

But more importantly, she said, it also appealed to “the most wounded parts of the South African psyche – the anger, shame, denial and deficit of self-esteem which apartheid has bequeathed to us”.

“It is the path of easy villains, lack of empathy and understanding, and the peddling of fear, loathing and resentment. This is also why it is profoundly bad for South Africa and bad for democracy,” added Mazibuko.

“Nelson Mandela showed us the way forward. Reconciliation takes courage and generosity. And it takes time.” - Political Bureau