South Africa

BLF faces hate speech charge over Hoërskool Driehoek disaster comments

BLF faces hate speech charge over Hoërskool Driehoek disaster comments
Pretoria - Labour union Solidarity said it was confident that its complaint against members of Black First Land First (BLF) for alleged hate speech following the Hoërskool Driehoek disaster would be heard soon.

The matter is due to come before the Equality Court sitting in Joburg, where Solidarity had lodged a complaint that the words uttered by BLF members Lindsay Maasdorp and Zwelakhe Dubasi constituted hate speech.

Solidarity’s head of labour law services, Anton van der Bijl, confirmed that the matter was ready to go ahead after it had received BLF president Andile Mngxitama’s opposing papers.

The complaint of hate speech follows posts in which BLF spokesperson Maasdorp said he was unmoved by the death of the pupils as it would mean the elimination of three “future problems” from the world. Related posts were made by Dubasi.

These were made at the time when Roydon Olckers, Jandre Steyn and Marli Currie died in February this year after a concrete slab at the school in Vanderbijlpark collapsed. A fourth pupil, Marnus Nagel, meanwhile also died. Scores of pupils were injured.

Apart from saying that these utterances constitute a serious affront to human dignity and the right to equality, Solidarity also wants BLF to pay damages in the amount of R150000 to the parents of the dead pupils for their emotional suffering.

Mngxitama, meanwhile, in his lengthy answering affidavit, outlined the past history of discrimination by whites against blacks in the country.

He also gave numerous examples of “hate speech” committed by whites, such as AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel, Helen Zille, apartheid era police minister Adrian Vlok and former president FW de Klerk in the past.

“BLF’s position is that blacks can’t be racist as they do not possess any institutional power for this kind of conduct. To this the relevant comments made by blacks on social media are no more than a response to the racism of white supremacy that manifest as prejudice.”

Mngxitama further stated that BLF did not celebrate the death of the Hoërskool Driehoek pupils. “BLF is against violence. BLF was formed to end the violence which has been ongoing since 1652 with the arrival of white people in South Africa.”

He said nothing stated in the posts violated the Constitution or promoted hatred.

He called on the court to dismiss the application with costs. He said the call in this application by Solidarity for the BLF and its members to apologise was the “function of racism and arrogance by the applicants (Solidarity and the families of the deceased pupils) who are themselves ignorant”.

Mngxitama said this was simply aimed at humiliating BLF and its members who were claimed to have committed hate speech.

Pretoria News