BLF eyes 10 seats in Parliament, seeks to unite all 'black parties'

2019-05-07 17:44
BLF members led by Andile Mngxitama and Zanele Lwa
Black First Land First (BLF) members led by Andile Mngxitama and Zanele Lwaini protest in Centurion. (Alet Pretorius/Gallo Images)

Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama is praying for a political miracle: that his party garners enough votes for 10 seats in the National Assembly.

Mngxitama says while his party has spent more time in the courts fighting bids to get it removed from the ballot paper, he believes it has "turned a corner" and will be able to capture the imagination of South African voters on Wednesday.

In a one-on-one interview with News24, Mngxitama said: "We just need enough votes to have a voice in Parliament."

Asked if he believes this could happen, he said: "Miracles are known to happen".

Despite the controversy that surrounds the party, he is heartened by how people have responded to it.

"People's response to us has been phenomenal, we've definitely turned a corner. If you asked this six months ago I wouldn't be sure, but now..."

He said South Africans were amazing and showed the party a lot of sympathy as they believed it was treated unfairly.

"They tend to be sympathetic towards anybody they think is being attacked," said Mngxitama.

READ: FF Plus warns of continued legal battle with BLF

On Monday the BLF lost a legal battle over its slogan "Land or Death" in the Equality Court, which ruled that it constituted hate speech. The court gave the party a month to remove the slogan from its website and regalia.

The SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), acting on behalf of complainant Lucy Strydom, had taken the matter to the Equality Court.

Mngxitama said he would fight the ruling and complained about the treatment his party, a controversial newcomer in the political space, received from Chapter 9 institutions.

"We are treated unfairly by Chapter 9 institutions, in particular, the Human Rights Commission," said Mngxitama.

He said the SAHRC had found that comments by EFF leader Julius Malema, also brought to it via complainants, did not constitute hate speech.

When he faced the exact same charge, the commission "powered up with 5 lawyers and an advocate" when taking his party to the Equality Court.

Mngxitama and his party members often clash with the media, defend and support former President Jacob Zuma and the Guptas, and disgraced Eskom officials Brian Molefe and Matshela Koko.

The BLF has also refused to allow white people to join their organisation. Mngxitama describes his party as the "most uniting project for black liberation".

Mngxitama says the difference between the BLF, and the EFF, which he was once a part of and served as an MP for, is that the EFF has white members and has partnered with a "white" political party, the DA, which represents monopoly capital.

BLF to pull all black parties together

Should the BLF make it into the National Assembly, Mngxitama said its first role would be to unite all "black political parties" behind a "black agenda". 

Parties tend to forget about the task at hand, and focus on fighting each other in Parliament, he said.

"We are going to expose that. Every time they get out of hand, we will say guys what is the proper agenda? Bring them back into what we must do together in Parliament," said Mngxitama.

If his party had been part of the present government, the land question would not have been left for the next administration to deal with.

"We would have made their lives completely impossible," said Mngxitama.

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