Andile Mngxitama, leader of Black First Land First. Picture: Masi Losi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Johannesburg - Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama is in hot water.

On Thursday, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it would institute litigation against him at the Equality Court for his statements on the killing of whites.

The BLF leader sparked a litany of complaints from various organisations since he made a racial statement at a small rally in Potchefstroom in the North West at the weekend.

Mngxitama called on his supporters to kill five white people for every black person killed by those acting on the instructions of billionaire Johann Rupert.

The SAHRC said it was deeply concerned by the ongoing public statements by political leaders and members of the public which had the potential of causing harm to the right to security of persons.

It said such statements also damaged social cohesion and undermined national unity.

The commission said it noted that freedom of expression was important and indispensable to the country’s constitutional democracy.

“While the commission will continue to promote and vigorously protect this freedom, the right is not without limitations.

“The commission is of the view that the utterances by Mr Mngxitama go beyond the legally permissible limits of free speech, hence the decision to institute action in the Equality Court against him.”

The SAHRC also said building social cohesion demanded all to find a delicate balance between exercising their right to free speech and refraining from rhetoric which was hurtful and divisive.

“The SAHRC calls on all, especially those tasked with leadership across all levels, to assist in fostering the ideals of our constitutional democracy - equality, dignity and freedom - by refraining from utterances and actions that threaten the security of other persons, social cohesion and the attainment of these ideals.”

On Thursday, ANC stalwarts and veterans condemned Mngxitama’s outbursts. The stalwarts said Mngxitama knew that actual violent acts and threats of violence would attract media coverage way beyond “the small group of BLF supporters”.

“Any person committed to the future of our country must condemn violence by any political party, irrespective of their own political affiliation.”

The stalwarts said Mngxitama’s latest outburst needed to be condemned by all political parties and appropriate legal action needed to be taken, irrespective of Mngxitama’s wish to become a “martyr”.

“The time is well past for the BLF (leader) to have his day in court and it is hoped that the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority will act swiftly on this matter.”

The Kathrada Foundation joined in the condemnation, with its executive director, Neeshan Balton, saying Mngxitama’s assertions were “inciteful and in our view, amount to hate speech”.

The Star