Refrain from hate speech or risk being deregistered, electoral commission warns BLF

2018-12-13 12:13
BLF leader Andile Mngxitama (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)

BLF leader Andile Mngxitama (Photo by Gallo Images/Beeld/Deaan Vivier)

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Black First Land First (BLF) has been warned – refrain from hate speech or risk being deregistered from the upcoming elections.

The Citizen has reported that, in a letter sent to the BLF, dated December 12, 2018, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) warned the party against making statements that "constitute hate speech".

The IEC told News24 that it had noted the serious allegations against the BLF leader.

"In keeping with the principles of natural justice the Commission will offer the party an opportunity to clarify its statements in the light of the values of the Constitution. The Commission will await a response where after it will assess the matter for appropriate course of action," IEC spokesperson Tumi Sethoba said.  

This comes after the commission received complaints about comments BLF leader Andile Mngxitama made at a gathering in Potchefstroom in the North West over the weekend, when he reportedly called on supporters to kill white people.

But on Tuesday, Mngxitama defended the comments at a press briefing, saying that they merely called on black people to defend themselves after recent statements by billionaire Johann Rupert, which he interpreted as "incitement to violence" against black people, News 24 earlier reported.

READ: BLF threatens to take up arms if IEC deregisters the party over alleged hate speech

Prior to the commission's warning, Mngxitama threatened an "arm struggle" if the electoral body deregistered his party.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) also confirmed this week that it would investigate the comments after it too received multiple complaints.

"The [SAHRC] is in the process of registering the complaints against Mr Mngxitama in accordance with its complaints handling procedures for purposes of conducting an investigation into whether or not human rights have been violated and what steps should be taken to secure appropriate redress," the SAHRC said in a statement on Wednesday.

ALSO READ: SAHRC to investigate Andile Mngxitama's alleged hate speech

In addition, the ANC entered the fray on Wednesday, accusing the BLF leader of attempting to set South Africa back – to its dark apartheid era.

"The rant about 'killing white people' shows an extent of [Mngxitama's] ignorance to the history of this country," ANC acting spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said in a statement.

ALSO READ: ANC lambasts Mngxitama's 'kill whites' comments as 'an attempt to set us back to the dark ages of apartheid' 

Read more on:    blf  |  iec  |  andile mngxitama  |  hate speech  |  elections  |  politics
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