Political newcomer, Black First Land First (BLF), has been
found guilty of hate speech by the Equality Court.
The organisation’s primary political slogan, “Land or Death”, was condemned by both the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the Equality Court on Monday. The damning verdict comes just days before the BLF is due to contest its first general election.
BLF guilty of hate speech, consequences to follow
BREAKING: Equality Court makes a finding that the Black First Land First (BLF) political slogan “Land or Death” is hate speech.
— SAHRCommission (@SAHRCommission) May 6, 2019
Buang Jones, attorney for the SAHRC, announced that after a
postponement in March, the case was finally heard on the morning of 6 May.
Jones explained that the guilty verdict would likely lead to criminal
“Equality Court makes a finding that the Black First Land First (BLF) political slogan “Land or Death” is hate speech. Clerk of the Equality Court directed to send a copy of the judgment to the Director of Public Prosecutions for possible institution of criminal proceedings against the BLF and its leaders.”
The BLF, which is led by controversial figurehead, Andile Mngxitama,
has been ordered to obey the court’s findings and remedial action, which includes:
The removal of their political slogan “Land or
Death” from their regalia, social media accounts and website.
Issuing a unreserved written apology to all South Africans,
which will be published on the SAHRC website
The deadline for the above undertakings is set for 6 June 2019.
What is Black First Land First?
This isn’t the first time that the BLF has been condemned for their racially divisive rhetoric but it is a landmark ruling within the context of the judiciary. While the BLF has faced fierce public outcry, the ruling by the Equality Court, and the propensity for subsequent criminal charges, has set a consequential precedent.
The BLF, formed by Mngxitama in 2015 as a breakaway party from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), has faced fierce contestation within the context of their electoral debut. The Freedom Front Plus (FF+) attempted, unsuccessfully, to have the BLF barred from competing in the 2019 general elections.