Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Durban - Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama has called on his party’s special policy conference to systematically succumb to the pressure of AfriForum and Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) by removing a racist clause from its constitution.

Mngxitama was addressing about 100 delegates who attended the one-day conference in Durban on Saturday, which was called in reaction to the IEC deregistering the BLF from participating in the country's elections. 

The IEC deregistered BLF following complaints from AfriForum that the party was racist since its policies did not allow white people to be members. The Equality Court would this week rule on the case against the IEC’s decision, which was launched by the BLF. 

Despite the call to amend its constitution, Mngxitama and other members of his party kept chanting “one settler, one bullet”, the slogan that could be interpreted as a call for an attack on white people. 

He said the party should amend its constitution only to meet the IEC’s requirements, but he said white people would have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they subscribed to the BLF’s pro-African people ideology. 

“It is just a very fair condition as white people are beneficiaries of land theft, therefore they should demonstrate if they say they support a pro-black movement like ours,” he said. 

He said it would be “a tough luck” for those white people who would fail to meet the BLF’s stringent conditions. 

“That means that they are not serious about joining the black struggle, then they must not,” said Mngxitama. 

He said the conference would make a declaration, which would retain the BLF’s blackness objectives. 

“We are a black liberation movement and that cannot be compromised, otherwise we have no reason to exist. 

“We will amend the constitution in such a way that we meet the requirement of the IEC without compromising what we stand for. 

“We already know how we can do that. It (declaration) would say BLF is for black liberation, is open to all those who believe that the land was stolen from black people by white people,” he said. 

He said white parties had no good intentions of demanding that white people should join the BLF. 

“Freedom Front Plus have got only white members in Parliament. Why is it not deregistered? If they said they are open to everybody they could not find one black person,” Mngxitama said. 

He said also to be reflected on the amended Constitution would be that “white people must pay reparations for colonialism and for apartheid and for oppresing black people”. 

“White people must acknowledge that white people are land thieves. Therefore it does not move away from our central objective. 

“They would be allowed into the BLF, and if white people come they must demonstrate how they believe in what we believe, and show us the move to get the land for black people from white people,” he said. 

He said black people could join the party willy-nilly because “black people are victims already”. 

“White people are beneficiaries, and we are victims of land dispossession, so if you are a beneficiary you cannot just believe in theory, show us what have you done to demonstrate you believe in what you say you believe in,” he said. 

BLF deputy president Zanele Lwana said the public would be informed in a space of about a month about the outcome of the policy conference. 

Politics Bureau