Patriotic Alliance leader Gayton McKenzie has been slammed for anti-foreigner and alleged xenophobic remarks he made at the party’s 10th anniversary celebrations at Orlando Stadium at the weekend.
The party was also the subject of social media ridicule after they failed to fill the 40,000 seater Orlando Stadium.
McKenzie has blamed the poor turnout on broken down buses and other issues at the stadium, but said the party will host another celebration in about three months.
We didn’t fill Orlando stadium, we did say we will have a rally in Soweto and we did have one, life will teach you one day what forms a great part of success, doing that which you said you are going to do is the beginning of future success. We are now on stadium level as a party.— Gayton McKenzie (@GaytonMcK) November 27, 2023
During his speech, McKenzie, who has publicly taken a pro-Israeli posture in the bombardment of Gaza by Israeli Defence Forces, which has resulted in the death of over 14,000, accused the governing African National Congress (ANC) of prioritising Palestine over South African issues.
“You will never see these leaders visiting Gugulethu, Langa, Mitchells Plain, Westbury, Kraaifontein, but today they are visiting the Palestinian people that are dying while we are dying, but no one came to us, they are telling us our lives mean nothing,” said McKenzie.
McKenzie’s party has been accused of spreading xenophobic sentiment in the past, but at the weekend he went further.
“The devil sent other devils here to sell drugs to our children, to take the jobs of our children,” said McKenzie.
“They are going to go home, mabahambe (they must leave). We don't want illegal foreigners here.
“After we have been sworn-in, I am going straight to the Rahima Moosa Hospital where we are going to switch off the oxygen of illegal foreigners,” said McKenzie.
Political analyst Sandile Swana told Newzroom Afrika the comments by McKenzie about foreigners were blatantly criminal.
“That type of statement is a criminal idea, outright crime, that is not politics. Secondly, there is no science, no analysis of any of the things he is talking about,” he said.
McKenzie also called for the death penalty to be reinstated for those who killed women and children, while he also said his party, the PA, would be king-makers in the 2024 elections.
“Next year South Africa will have its first coalition, the PA is going to be the king-makers,” he said to loud cheers.
In the last local government elections, the PA did become king-makers in the Joburg metropolitan, initially voting with a coalition led by the Democratic Alliance, before falling out with them and switching sides to back an ANC and EFF-backed coalition.
However, in recent months there has been clear discontent in that coalition, leading to the PA expressing a desire to join the DA-led Moonshot Pact, but the DA has so far rejected the party, despite ActionSA advocating strongly for it's inclusion.
McKenzie also said he would make conscription mandatory for all adults and suggested he would scrap the R350 grant for the unemployed.
“We are going to bring national service, national youth service, we are going to bring conscription back. When you reach the age of 18, you are going to go to the army and learn a skill. You will not be paid R350 to sit at home and act like there is something wrong with you,” he said.
Swana applauded the idea of a national youth service, but the PA did not have the tools required to see its realisation.
“I have met guys who served in the army during the 1980s. Some of the best computer programmers learnt programming in the army, the ANC, none of them have launched any youth service, it's not there.
“When I listen to Gayton McKenzie, ideas need to be linked to people of substance, we need all of us to share ideas so that people of substance can take those ideas and implement them.
“I am not sure PA is achieving success, they are very far from implementing a national service, but the idea of a national service is necessary, but only the elections will tell us who can do that job,” said Swana, who added that unemployment had risen from four million in 1994 to over 12 million currently.
“The skills and resources are here. The services are not deprived because of any foreigner. That whole story is anti-science, it is wild criminal thinking,” he said.
Swana also said elections data and the turnout at the PA celebrations at the weekend showed that the PA was not ready to take it's place in national politics.
Data from the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) shows that the PA only managed 13,263 votes in the 2014 general elections, 6,600 votes in the last general elections in 2019, but did well in the last local government elections with 226,859 votes nationally, of which about 86,000 votes were in Gauteng.
By comparison, the Economic Freedom Fighters, which was also founded in 2013, secured 1.1 million votes in 2014, 1.8 million votes in 2019 and 2.4 million votes in the last local government elections in 2021.
“These are guys who can get the votes in localised and closed areas and get a ward there. They don't have the infrastructure to be a provincial party, even if you look at the number of votes they got in the Western Cape, it's negligible, they are a nonentity, but when you go to the local municipality they do get something,” said Swana of the PA.
“They have a long way to go, when you look at the fact that they are now 10 years old and compare them with the EFF, they are not making good progress at all.
“In the municipality they have been really opportunistic and exploit the situation to the fullest extent, but they are not a solid party,” said Swana.
Swana said the PA had to clarify its ideology, desist from crude identity and anti-foreigner sentiment and build structures in communities to grow.