The ANC’s Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association in Gauteng’s Sedibeng region on Sunday rallied behind Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and pressed criminal charges against a man who insulted her on social media.
Following in the tracks of ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte and party spokesperson Pule Mabe – who have both spoken out against the public attacks on Dlamini-Zuma for her anti-smoking stance as well as government regulations under the national lockdown period, the Sedibeng Military Veterans Association said on Sunday “racists must start to know that the law bites”.
Regional secretary Titus Mpondo said outside Mondeor Police Station in the south of Johannesburg that their office bearers met earlier on Sunday morning and agreed that “a case of crimen injuria and violation of the national disaster laws should be opened against one white guy on social media who is heard and seen insulting the minister with her private parts”.
Mpondo said the person referred to himself as “Peter Afrikaans”.
“The Military Veterans Association could not establish his true identity and that is where the police should come in,” he said.
“The ANC issued a statement, we are now acting. We have been observing these racist tendencies against our leaders and that is why we are taking action. We are saying enough is enough of this tendency of insulting our leaders”.
“We cannot sit by and issue statements in our comfort. For us it is not enough and that is why we came here to open a case, so that those who are intend to do the same must see that the law will take its course,” he said.
In the video, the man who appeared to be smoking, referred to reports that Dlamini-Zuma had lobbied at Wednesday’s national command council meeting for cigarettes and alcohol sales to be allowed only at level one.
“I just wanna say to Dlamini-Zuma: If you think cigarettes and alcohol should only be unbanned under level one, I’m Peter Afrikaans, you p***,” said the man.
Inside the police station there were questions why the minister did not personally come to open the case but Mondo said any citizen had the right to open one.
“We are an association aligned to the ANC, so we have got a right to open a case if we feel our leader is being insulted as it is in this case,” Mpondo said.
When police asked why the case was not opened anywhere in the Sedibeng region, which covers the Vaal area, he said “the law allows one to open the case wherever they are and police could transfer the case to the designated place”.
“We are perturbed and angry by the video that we saw of the white racist who insulted the minister with her private parts. We are opening the case because we do not take the minister only as a minister but as Africans, she is our mother,” he said.
Secondly, said Mpondo, Dlamini-Zuma was a leader of society and government.
“It cannot be correct that whenever one is frustrated then they insult the minister. In African culture it is wrong to insult your mother, more especially referring to her private parts”.
Dlamini-Zuma had also previously served as chairperson of the African Union Commission, he said, adding that “the media is also largely silent on these issues”.
The association’s regional chairperson Romani Lehloo said the provincial body in Gauteng had given a blessing for the charges to be opened.
“The minister must keep doing her job as appointed by the ANC to service the people of this country. Whoever is against her would have to deal with the Military Veterans Association all over the country because we are behind her in anything and we support her fully,” said Lehloo.
The attack on Dlamini-Zuma also drew the ire of the association’s regional secretary in Ekurhuleni who sent City Press a message: “To the racist that insulted Mama Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and all other racists in South Africa, my name is Bafana Mahlabe and combat name Lookout Mabaso, a former combatant of Umkhonto weSizwe, which was the military wing of the ANC.
“We fought for this country and our freedom was never free as some were imprisoned, some exiled and others died. This sudden emergence of racist arrogance shall not be tolerated. We are fracas and proud. We shall defend the gains of a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa at whatever cost.”
Mahlabe said: “Rest assured that we are fearless. Leave Mama Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma alone and come to us”.