I have today submitted an affidavit at the Equality Court in Bloemfontein with a request that the Court consider my request to instruct Mr Ace Magashule and the ANC under whose auspices these statements were made, to individually or jointly call a press conference in which they apologise unconditionally for the damage caused by branding white South African citizens as being foreigners who should be subjected to violence. Neither the President of the ANC Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, nor the ANC as a political party that regards itself as non-racial in terms of the Freedom Charter, have made any statements condemning these racist comments.
On 5 September 2019, the Secretary-General of the African National Congress (ANC) Mr Ace Magashule delivered a speech at a South African Student Congress (SASCO) rally at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), amid the ongoing violence that is directed at foreign nationals from other African states residing in the South Africa. During his address he made, among others, the following comments (see video here): “…You must never despise people who have the same skin colour with us. Their colour whether it’s people from Mozambique or Angola or Nigeria or anywhere in the 54 countries in Africa you must know you are from Africa. Because there are many others with whitish colour you don’t know them they are there, you see them all the time, but you can’t say this one ke le kwerekwere (offensive term for foreigners), this one comes from somewhere else. They are here in this country. They have never been attacked and they are so-called foreigners because their colour is white. And you must understand why Africans must unite is because the whites don’t want Africa to come together…”
In my affidavit to the Equality Court in Bloemfontein, I indicate that we regard this as hate speech and incitement to commit violence against white people in terms of both the Equality Act (No. 4 of 2000) and Section 16 of the Constitution. I also regard the language as racist in nature. There can be no doubt that the purpose of the statement is to brand white South African citizens as being foreigners who should be subjected to similar violence as that which has been meted out to foreign nationals in South Africa recently. Furthermore, these statements are regarded as a deliberate attempt to make white South African citizens a target of contempt in the broader community.
In a transitional society that is grappling with entrenching the principles of democracy and racial tolerance, the Courts have a very important role to play in determining acceptable rules of behaviour and interaction among groups and individuals in South Africa. The responsibility of setting an example to the rest of society falls on the shoulders of all leaders in our communities, especially political leaders in the governing party. It is a shame that Magashule abused an opportunity to address young people as platform to propagate hate speech.
The DA has a sound track record of defending the rights and freedoms of all South Africans, that includes the right to be protected from harm. We will continue to do this in a manner that promotes our diversity and non-racism and entrenches a democratic political culture in our country.