Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama said he will not challenge Tuesday’s Electoral Court decision confirming that his party is no longer a registered political party.
The court had ruled on Tuesday in favour of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which had in July deregistered the leftist radical movement after the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) had complained about the party member's racist stance.
The deregistration of the party comes after it was found that they had contravened Section 16(1) (c) of the Electoral Commission Act which states that the IEC may not register a political party which indicates that persons will not be admitted to membership of the party or welcomed as supporters of the party on the grounds of their race, ethnic origin or colour.Mngxitama said he would not use the appeal option, which was available to the BLF.
“It is an option we are not going to exercise as we have anticipated this decision.
“We anticipated that courts are going to confirm the deregistration of the BLF,” he said.
He said instead the BLF, which he said had more than 70 000 card carrying members, would hold a special policy conference at the end of the month in Durban to find a way forward.
“That would give a way forward for BLF. But we are not going to make it easy for land thieves to kick BLF out of the political arena because we know that FFPlus and other racist organisations are terrified by BLF,” he said.
He said the policy conference would determine whether or not to re-register the BLF with the IEC or whether it would operate as an underground political structure.
He said he took the IEC and the court’s decision as a ban on the BLF from operating in the country.
“What option do you leave for people (BLF members) when you say they have no right to exist and to fight for their rights,” he said.
The FF+ had laid a complaint to the IEC that the BLF was a racist organisation for refusing to accept white members.
“They (white people) are the cause of the problem that we are dealing with, and there is no way that BLF is going to accept white people as comrades or fellow revolutionalists.
“We are going to amend our constitution to give us a chance to represent our people without surrendering the truth that what people are land thieves in this country
“We are going to the special policy conference to give direction on how we are going to exist as BLF,” said Mngxithama.
In a statement, Mike Moriarty, the DA representative of the Party Liaison Committee on the IEC said they welcomed the deregistration of the Black Land First (BLF) movement as a political party.
"Since its inception the BLF has caused division amongst South Africans as its constitution stated that only black people can be members of their party. Furthermore, the Electoral Act is clear that incitement to violence and stoking of racial hatred is prohibited. There is no place in this country for such parties or politicians who gain votes by stoking vicious hatred.
"The DA believes that the role of a political party is to foster unity and embrace the diverse cultures that are to be found in South Africa. South Africa needs public representatives who understand that we are better together."