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BLF leader Andile Mngxitama singles out a News24 journalist at a media briefing after his kill whites threats made at the BLF rally over the weekend. (Felix Dlangamandla)
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The BLF was a creation of the Bell Pottinger period, a dangerous oddity now preaching racism and violence to remain relevant. Our political and judicial system will weigh its merits, writes Pieter du Toit.
"When I saw the white guy I thought it was Kallie Kriel, you look the same," said Andile Mngxitama when he saw me, the only white face in the room before the BLF's press conference on Tuesday.
In Mngxitama's world being a lone white journalist among black colleagues seemingly is a thing that needs to be pointed out. Because for him it's all about black versus white.
The BLF leader then proceeded to bluster his way through more than 40 minutes of fantastical conspiracy theories, racist insults, violent threats and unsubstantiated allegations against almost everyone in the South African political galaxy, bar the chief librarian of Parliament.
Sitting cramped between his leadership team of nodding underlings, with green and blue peppermints and assorted peanuts and raisins in bowls in front of them, Mngxitama tried his best to out-Malema the EFF's leader Julius Malema. It was as if he decided: "Anything Malema can do, I can do better."
Malema threatens violence; Mngxitama threatens to kill whites.
Malema threatens journalists; Mngxitama swears at them (he called me "a fucking white journalist").
And where Malema threatens action should a constitutional amendment to nationalise land not pass, Mngxitama sommer says they have already identified 100 white farms they're going to take.
In fact, he proclaimed: "We're not constitutionalists! We're constitutional delinquents!"
Take that, Julius… you and your Constitution!
Compared to the BLF, the EFF looks like a classic Westminster-style political party gently attempting to persuade the honourable members on the other side of the house that their point of view should be the prevailing one in the chamber, if you please, Madam Speaker.
The BLF revved up their anarchic presence during the height of the Bell Pottinger-Duduzane Zuma disinformation and division campaign in 2016 and 2017. Mngxitama was one of the main proponents of the "white monopoly capital" narrative and has been a staunch and very loyal defender of the Guptas, the family at the centre of state capture revelations.
In fact, the Gupta Leaks emails revealed that Mngxitama even went cap in hand asking the family for donations (he says the emails were "made up"). It was during that period that the BLF's fancily designed logo and striking black t-shirts (with the legend "Land or death" on the back) started appearing outside journalists' homes, the courts and the Guptas' Saxonwold compound. For a broke organisation, as Mngxitama announced they were, the logo, t-shirts, berets and drop-down banners for press conferences certainly were a godsend to help them establish an identity. And also, somebody had to pay for it.
But any political organisation wishing to impress the virtues and advantages of their ideology and policy positions upon voters in order for them to gain electoral support, needs a proper foundation from which to launch a discernable campaign. And based on Mngxitama's statements on Sunday ("We'll kill five whites for every black") and his performance on Tuesday, the BLF is not about to make an impression anywhere except maybe at the Equality Court, where it could soon be answering to charges of incitement to violence.
Mngxitama accused businessman Johann Rupert of having his own "army" run by taxi bosses who are at the ready "to unleash black on black violence". He said Pravin Gordhan was running hit squads and that there are various white militias being armed and trained by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service. When asked for details about his claims, he resorted to threats.
And the name of the BLF's soon-to-be commissioned "defence force" (to counter Rupert's "army")? The Mau-Mau.
Beyond that, he demanded that government either provide jobs to unemployed black youths, and failing that, that they should receive a monthly stipend of R5 000. He added that he also wants government to give pensioners a bonus payment for Christmas. He however neglected to provide any details on how he believes it could be financed.
The BLF was a creation of the Bell Pottinger period, a dangerous oddity now preaching racism and violence to remain relevant. Our political and judicial system will weigh the merits of the BLF's continued existence and decide on it and its leader's future in our democratic architecture. My gut feel says "killing whites" just isn't a winning strategy.
And his mistaking me for Kallie Kriel?
Kriel should be so lucky.
- Pieter du Toit is News24's assistant editor for in-depth news.
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