Andile Mngxitama, leader of Black First Land First. Picture: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Kimberley - Cope on Tuesday filed criminal charges against the leader of Black First Land First (BLF), Andile Mngxitama, at the Kimberley police station.

Cope national chairperson, Pakes Dikgetsi, on Tuesday opened charges of hate speech and incitement to violence against Mngxitama, following a speech he made in Potchefstroom this past weekend, where he called for five white people to be killed for every black person killed.

“They kill one of us, we will kill five white people. We will kill their children, we kill the woman, we will kill anything that we find on our way. We kill their children, we kill their woman, we kill their dogs, we kill their cats, we kill anything that comes before us,” Mngxitama said.

Dikgetsi said on Tuesday that hate speech and incitement to violence were specifically excluded from the protection of free speech, as enshrined in the Constitution.

“Section 16 of the Constitution gives everybody the right to freedom of expression but that right to freedom of expression does not extend, inter alia, to incitement of imminent violence or advocacy of hatred that is based on race and ethnicity, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm,” Dikgetsi said.

He added that the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act prohibited hate speech and harassment, while the Riotous Assemblies Act provided that “any person who incites, instigates, commands or procures any person to commit any offence, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to the punishment to which a person convicted of actually committing that offence”.

Dikgetsi further stated that the Electoral Commission Act provided that the chief electoral officer may not register a party if such party is guilty of the incitement of violence or discrimination in accordance with generally accepted grounds.

He added that, apart from lodging a complaint with police, Cope could still possibly lodge a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission, go directly to the Equality Court or lodge a complaint with the IEC.

Pakes Dikgetsi, Cope national chairperson, has opened a criminal case against Andile Mngxitama, Black First Land First (BLF) president for his hate speech. Picture: Soraya Crowie/African News Agency (ANA)

Speaking from the steps of the Kimberley police station on Tuesday, Dikgetsi likened Mngxitama’s utterances to those made by Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin.

“Adolf Hitler started this way and people were killed. Idi Amin started this way and people were killed. We implore the SAPS to arrest (Mngxitama) immediately and not turn a blind eye. South Africa must not for a second allow racism or racist remarks.

“We had a bitter past and can not allow anyone to take us back. All must be allowed their freedoms, won by the blood and sweat of people who died for these freedoms,” Dikgetsi said.

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