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AfriForum versus BLF: white arrogance, court bias against BLF in “hate speech” case

By Andile Mngxitama

Good afternoon. I greet you all in the name of Steve Biko. I greet you all in the name of Robert Sobukwe. I greet you all in the name of Chris Hani.

We are in downtown Johannesburg. We are driving through the CBD. We are from the Equality Court, which sat in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court. I’m just updating those of you who have tried to follow up on what’s happening in court.

We were in court today in a matter that was brought by AfrForum. It was set down for 2 days. Just to refresh your memory: in December 2018 Johann Rupert said he has a private army in the taxi industry and that he was going to unleash it against black people; BLF said he can’t do that because we have a right to self defence; AfriForum then took us to court to say that we have no right to self defence. So basically, Johann Rupert can say that he has the right to unleash his private army against black people but we can’t defend ourselves.

Our courts have proved to be blatantly, openly hostile and biased against BLF. It’s quite shocking actually. Today Ernest Roets of AfriForum was called as an expert witness. For four hours we were listening in court to this man waffling about things he doesn’t know, things he concorts. There was complete speculation, no scholarship, no research on his part – but he’s been regarded as an expert witness and entertained as such by the court. This is the extent of anti blackness in this country that we are subjected to. And then he was supposedly interpreting stuff in various fields in which he has no credible expertise. He spoke nonsense and our court took copious amounts of notes.

Our courts have demonstrated that they are controlled by Freedom Front+, by AfriForum, by white interests generally. It is clear to Black First Land First that there’s a systematic plan to silence us. We have left that court today with a very clear impression that this matter is prejudged. The court will find against us. It will say Black First Land First has no right to self defence.

So Johann Rupert says that he’s going to kill us, that he’s going to unleash his private army in the taxi industry against us and we, as black people, have no right to say that we will defend ourselves. When Rupert said that he has a private army in the taxi industry, Black First Land First said that we are not going to repeat the mistake of the 1980’s when the ANC was fighting Inkatha Freedom Party and white people were creating all kinds of violence. We know what happened in the Boipating massacre for instance. So drawing from that we said that black people must not fight each other. When said that when Rupert unleashes his army we will not fight with each other. We will instead take the struggle to the white community. This is what we said. This is self defence. In fact it has worked. I said these words in December 2018 and Johann Rupert has since not unleashed the violence that he had threatened because he knew that we had said we will fight back.

Anyway, this is where we are. The matter of AfriForum versus BLF and myself was postponed. You should have seen how it was postponed. The white advocate of AfriForum, an Oppenheimer, just stands up at the end of the day to say they can’t be in court tomorrow and the magistrate grants them the postponement. Whatever AfriForum‘s advocate asks, the magistrate just grants it. It’s a shocking situation. It’s heartbreaking in many ways. It’s angering. Let me just say – for the first time, the first time proper in court I felt like “no man, time is up guys. We gotta have to do something else. No! No! No! We can’t continue like this”.

You must see the arrogance of white people in the court. We got attacked in that court today by AfriForum. We had to put a big fight back. As soon as the magistrate stepped out, and despite a court ruling that no pictures or filming was allowed, they started taking pictures and insulting us. We had to push back and fight in a court system which is so hostile to our movement and to black people.

Guys, let me put it this way. You see this Ramaphosa government with this Julius Malema giving the DA political power, white people’s arrogance has reached new levels. And with our courts attacking Jacob Zuma like they have been, and being so openly biased, the arrogance of whiteness has just increased tenfold.

Anyway we are here to fight and you know that this month end, we will be in eThekwini. We are going to Ethekwini. BLF has this special policy conference where we are going to take matters into our own hands. We are not going to allow them to ban us. We are not going to allow them to silence us. We are not going to allow them to intimidate us. We are going to say loud and clear, “Land or Death, Black First, this country belongs to us, and the struggle must continue”.

The courts are doing their damndest in this time. You must see them. We have been to court for the flimsiest of things, and you must see how the courts treat us. It shows open hostility. AfriForum and other white interests know that they control the courts.

And black people this story of you being hostile to one another and not supporting each other is going to finish us all. They are coming for us one by one. It’s time for black people to divorce from those marriages with white people and to stand firm on the side of blackness. But as I say, the courts are clear. They are not with us. However this is the revolutionary test for us. And we have to have the resolve, the consistency, the clarity, to continue to fight for the liberation of black people.

Today while sitting in that court I knew we were wasting our time. We were just absorbing insults in a system that is not designed to serve our interests. It’s aluta continua for us. We need every black person to be on the same side, the side of revolution. We ask you black people to support Black First Land First. You may not be able to come to Durban on the 30th of November. We need money, we need to bring some people out there, we need to pay for the venue. Do something. Support us.
Don’t allow the system to smash us without you being there in solidarity with us.

It’s not easy. It’s hard. It’s difficult. Sometimes the temptation for despair is there. But comrades, sisters, brothers, if we don’t put up this fight, who will? Let’s do it for our children and their children. Also let’s do it for our forebears who had the courage to stand up and who had to pay the highest price you can pay. Steve Biko, Mapetla Mohaphi, Chris Hani – let’s remember those who fought and died for our liberation.

But today’s court proceedings convinced me, we got to find another way. Izwelethu. We will talk again. I was just updating you. The matter was postponed, we don’t know until when but we can tell you this – the courts are not with black people. We got to keep strong; we got to keep together; we got to keep talking the black language which in this country right now is actually being banned. It’s being criminalized! Enkosi. I’m out!

The above is a transcript of a live update of a court case streamed on social media yesterday by the President of Black First Land First, Andile Mngxitama. More specifically the update relates to a case between BLF and AfriForum where the latter says that the court must declare the organization’s call for blacks to demand the right of self defense, hate speech.