Black First Land First

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Black First Land First
AbbreviationBLF
PresidentAndile Mngxitama [af]
Deputy PresidentZanele Lwana
Secretary GeneralSiphesihle Jele
Treasurer GeneralThandiswa Yaphi
Founded24 October 2015
Split fromEconomic Freedom Fighters (EFF)
Student wingBLF-Student Movement (BLF-SM)
IdeologyBlack Consciousness
Pan-Africanism
Revolutionary socialism
Black supremacy
Black nationalism
Political positionFar-left
ColorsRed, Green and Black
National Assembly
0 / 400
National Council of Provinces
0 / 90
Website
blf.org.za Edit this at Wikidata

Black First Land First (BLF) is a black consciousness, pan-Africanist and revolutionary socialist political movement and former political party in South Africa. It was founded in 2015 by Andile Mngxitama [af] following his expulsion from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by Julius Malema.

Mngxitama’s chief policy is ‘expropriation without compensation’ of white-owned land, which he declares to have been directly stolen from Africans. On this issue, he has accused EFF of selling out to the ANC, which he regards as too friendly to business interests. BLF has been supportive of South Africa’s ex-President Jacob Zuma, and has also shown support for the influential Gupta family. Its policies have been labelled as black supremacist. Some of its members have been accused of threatening investigative journalists.

In early-2019, the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) appealed to have the BLF deregistered. The IEC officially annulled[1] the party registration on 15 July 2019 as a result of its violation of the Electoral Act, which prohibits limiting membership on the basis of race.[2][3] The Electoral Court dismissed BLF's appeal in November 2019 and upheld an earlier ruling that the organisation can not be regarded as a political party.[4]

In November 2019, the movement decided to amend its constitution to allow Whites to be members of the movement. [5] In an interview with media personality Zāhid Jadwat a few days later, the movement's Zanele Lwana slammed the media for "deliberately reporting untruthfullyon on what happened" in the conference.[6] The movement's Deputy President said that the motive was more to allow its admittance on the IEC rather than to welcome Whites.

History[edit]

Andile Mngxitama served as an EFF member of parliament after the party won 25 seats in the 2014 general election, the first elections ever contested by the EFF after their founding the previous year. Mngxitama became unhappy with EFF leadership after its inaugural elective conference in December 2014. He accused EFF leadership, and in particular its founder Julius Malema, of having the "same tendencies as the ANC", a party that Malema had been expelled from in 2012.[7][8] These accusations caused a rift in the EFF, a rift that widened in February 2015 when the two sides "came to blows" following accusations that Malema had made a deal with the ANC to help get Mngxitama and his sympathisers out of parliament.[9] Mngxitama and two of his comrades, Mpho Ramakatsa and Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala, were expelled in April.[10]

Mngxitama was perturbed by this development, and condemned the EFF of being a "watered-down version of the ANC".[7] His main policy disagreement was the EFF's abandonment of his ideas of land reform, the "principle of expropriation without compensation" of white-owned land. This had always been an essential issue for Mngxitama, who had voiced his opinion to no avail during his tenure on the parliamentary Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform.[11] He accused Malema of "selling out" on the issue, labelling him a "revisionist".[12] This stated commitment to radical land reform would become the selling point of the Black First Land First manifesto.[13]

In 2016-2017, after accusing the EFF of having the same tendencies as the ruling ANC, BLF came out in support of former ANC and South African President Jacob Zuma, who has faced numerous corruption charges. BLF have also shown support for the controversial Gupta family, who have been widely accused of "capturing" the South African state through their dealings with Zuma.[14][15] Questions have been asked to what extent the Guptas have been funding Andile Mngxitama and BLF, and whether the Guptas intended to use BLF to escalate racial tensions in order to distract from their controversial activities.[16][17][18]

In August 2017, Mngxitama exhorted the Reserve Bank of South Africa to seize white farms and to initiate the formation of a black bank.[19]

In July 2017, e-mails surfaced suggesting that Mngxitama received instructions from the Gupta family and their contracted PR company Bell Pottinger.[20] Bell Pottinger was subsequently suspended by the British Public Relations and Communications Association for "exploiting and creating racial divisions in South Africa" for five years.[21]

Policies[edit]

In its "Revolutionary Call" released on 13 August 2015, BLF notes that, "[w]ithout land there is no freedom or dignity. We want Land First because it is the basis of our freedom, our identity, our spiritual well-being, our economic development and culture. The land of Africans was stolen and this theft has rendered us landless in our own land. We want all the land with all of its endowments on its surface together with all the fortunes underground as well as the sky. All of it belongs to us! We are a people crying for our stolen land! Now we have decided to get it back by any means necessary" SCI: "By any means necessary means without regard to famine, bloodshed or deteriorating as Zimbabwe did as our spiritual well-being demands it".

Founder Mngxitama also made it clear that BLF has a policy called "Code of dealing with house n*ggers and sell outs".[22][23] This is a ten-point code touted as a guide for party member to defend black people they differ with who come under attack from white supremacy.[24]

[edit]

The logo of Black First Land First (BLF) movement is the Sankofa Bird, forming part of a clenched black fist, with the base forming a fountain pen. The Sankofa Bird is a symbol for understanding a people engaged in the struggle for freedom through the power of revolutionary historical lessons. In this regard, the Sankofa bird, while looking backwards, flies forward with an egg in its mouth. The clenched black fist symbolises Black Power, and the fountain pen signifies the importance of revolutionary theory as a guide to action in the revolutionary struggle.[25] At the centre of the Sankofa's wing is the five pointed red star. The five-pointed red star symbolises socialism and the blood of blacks whose lives were lost through the anti blackness of white supremacy. Moreover, the five points of the star represents the five continents and hence an internationalist outlook in pursuit of the total freedom of all the oppressed peoples of the world. The circle is colored in green to signify the Land and all the minerals beneath it that must be returned to the people. The circle itself, with its red outer and black inner boundary lines serves to protect the people engaged in revolution.

Structure[edit]

According to its Constitution,[26] The BLF operates under the Leninist party organisational structure known as democratic centralism.[a] There are 4 chief organs of the party, arranged in the following hierarchy:[b]

  1. The National Imbizo which elects the National Coordinating Committee
  2. The Provincial Imbizo which elects the Provincial Coordinating Committee
  3. The Regional Imbizo which elects the Regional Coordinating Committee
  4. The Branch Biennial General Imbizo which elects the Branch Coordinating Committee

The National Imbizo, as the supreme ruling body, will convene at least once every 5 years. It is responsible for electing the members of the National Coordinating Committee (NCC) including the Secretary General.[c] This is very similar to the relationship between the Party Congress and the Central Committee in Marxist-Leninist parties. The BLF Constitution mandates the 50% of the seats in both the NCC and it's subcommittee, the Central Committee (CC), be occupied by women.[d] The lower level Imbizos and Coordinating Committees function in a similar fashion.[e]

Ideology[edit]

Mngxitama has stated that the party's core ideologies are Black Consciousness and Pan-Africanism with a Sankarist leadership ethos.[27][28] BLF describes itself as a "vanguard organisation". While it is not clear what BLF means by that, [29], the party does believe that no revolution can take place without a vanguard organisation. Its activities have led to it being called a supporter of black supremacy.[30] The party was registered with the Independent Electoral Commission[31] and contested the 2019 elections but won no representation in parliament or the provincial legislatures. The party's registration was annulled on 15 July 2019.[32][33]

Controversies[edit]

Threatening of politicians[edit]

In July 2017 a BLF member was accused of harassing and sending death threats to ANC MP Makhosi Khoza following Khoza's criticisms of President Zuma. Khoza has been among a few ANC Members of Parliament urging other members to vote with their conscience in an upcoming vote of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma. In a series of text messages, Khoza was urged to vote against the motion of no confidence against President Jacob Zuma or face death. Threats escalated towards Khoza's children and Khoza was also told that she had 21 days to live.[22][23] Founder Mngxitama denied the accusations and argued that Khoza is loud and irrelevant, as well as that Khoza is black and that BLF will never threaten a black person.[34] Mngxitama further stated that there must be a white person behind the threats.[22][23]

BLF Launched their own investigation into the accusations regarding the threats against Makhosi Khoza. BLF argued that Daily Maverick is a white monopoly capital publication that manufactured the story to increase Makhosi Khoza's public image in order to facilitate in a pro-white monopoly capital break away party from the ANC.[35]

Harassment of journalists[edit]

Ferial Haffajee[edit]

BLF Leader, Mngxitama, has been implicated in a sexual smear campaign against Huffington Post Editor-at-large, Ferial Haffajee. Various images of Haffajee came to light with amateur photo manipulation depicting Haffajee in various acts with South African businessman, Johann Rupert. An army of fake Twitter accounts, also known as "Paid Twitter" retweeted and spread the images over social media. The only real accounts found spreading the images were BLF leader Andile Mngxitama, Decolonisation Foundation's Mzwanele Manyi and Uncensored Opinion's Pinky Khoabane. The Paid Twitter campaign has since been linked to UK based PR firm Bell Pottinger, employed by the Gupta family to spread fake news and discredit journalists that speak out against President Zuma or the Gupta Family.[36] BLF's sister publication, Black Opinion, has since expressed their discontent with Haffajee, stating that she is a Black Liberal acting in favour of White Monopoly Capital.[37]

Peter Bruce and Tim Cohen[edit]

Tiso Blackstar editor-at-large, Peter Bruce and Business Day editor, Tim Cohen were intimidated and assaulted by BLF members after publishing an article about the Gupta family.[38][39] The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) expressed concerns over intimidation of journalists by BLF and cited the South African Constitution Section 15 and 16 addressing free press and freedom of religion and opinion.[39][40] The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) applied for an urgent interdict to stop BLF members from harassing and intimidating journalists. SANEF further gave BLF the opportunity for assurance that they will not further intimidate journalists. BLF however, declined[39] and released a statement in which they listed other white journalists whom they indicated would be next on their target list.[40] Among other parties who expressed their concern was the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation who condemned the intended target list by BLF.[41]

After being taken to court by SANEF, BLF through their publication arm Black Opinion, accused SANEF of being racist white journalists and the poodle of White Monopoly Capital. BLF further accused the non-white journalists who form part of the SANEF court case as 'house negroes' who suffer from an identity crisis. BLF stated that they will take action only against the white journalists who form part of the court case.[42][43]

Micah Reddy[edit]

BLF members were accused of harassing and assaulting investigative journalist for amaBhungane, Micah Reddy, following the filming of a televised debate on the subject of fake news in South Africa.[44] BLF founder Andile Mngxitama was of the opinion that Reddy provoked BLF members and further stated that Reddy can be lucky he is black because BLF will never assault a black person.[45][46]

Views on climate change[edit]

In June 2017, leader Andile Mngxitama blamed white monopoly capital for a severe storm that hit Cape Town the preceding week. Mngxitama is of the opinion that climate change is the fault of "capitalism and racism".[47][48] Mngxitama stated that white people have assaulted nature and that Africa is now paying for these assaults. He goes further to argue that there are no natural disasters, only white-made disasters such as droughts and earthquakes. Mngxitama also stated that the blame for deaths caused by the Cape Storm should be placed at the feet of the Oppenheimer and Rupert family as well as the Democratic Alliance.[47]

Hate speech[edit]

In September 2018, Spokesperson Lyndsay Maasdorp told The Citizen reporter Daniel Friedman that as a white person his existence is "a crime". Maasdorp has also posted on his, now suspended, Twitter account, in 2018, "I have aspirations to kill white people, and this must be achieved!".[49]

In December 2018, in response to comments made by Johann Rupert in support of the South African taxi industry, Mngxitama asserted at a BLF rally that "For each one person that is being killed by the taxi industry, we will kill five white people",[50] giving rise to the BLF slogan "1:5".[51] Mngxitama went on to say that "You kill one of us, we will kill five of you. We will kill their children, we will kill their women, we will kill anything that we find on our way."[52] The comments were criticized by many, including the African National Congress, with an ANC spokesperson claiming that "[Mngxitama's] comments clearly incite violence in South Africa" and urged the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate.[50] The Congress of the People and Democratic Alliance also criticized the statements and filed criminal charges against Mngxitama for incitement of violence. Mngxitama's Twitter account was also suspended as a result.[53] In response, the BLF’s deputy president, Zanele Lwana responded that Mngxitama's comments were made in the context of self defence and "The only sin committed by BLF president is defending black people. President Mngxitama correctly stated that for every one black life taken, five whites would be taken!"[53]

Election results[edit]

National elections[edit]

Election Total votes Share of vote Seats +/– Government
2019 19,796 0.11%
0 / 400
extraparliamentary

Provincial elections[edit]

Election[54] Eastern Cape Free State Gauteng Kwazulu-Natal Limpopo Mpumalanga North-West Northern Cape Western Cape
% Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats
2019 - - - - 0.13% 0/73 0.16% 0/80 - - 0.09% 0/30 0.07% 0/33 - - - -

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Constitution Section 3.13
  2. ^ Constitution Section 7.1
  3. ^ Constitution Section 11.1
  4. ^ Constitution Section 12.3-12.8
  5. ^ Constitution Section 17-22

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.elections.org.za/content/About-Us/News/Commission-upholds-African-Transformation-Movement-(ATM)-registration,-annuls-Black-First-Land-First-(BLF)-registration/
  2. ^ FF+ gets BLF de-registered as a political party. Retrieved on 15 July 2019.
  3. ^ BLF registration as political party is unlawful, IEC rules. Retrieved on 15 July 2019.
  4. ^ Davis, Rebecca. "ELECTORAL COURT: End of an error: BLF officially deregistered as political party". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  5. ^ https://www.timeslive.co.za/amp/politics/2019-12-02-wonderful-news-for-whites-you-can-join-blf-but-tscs-apply/
  6. ^ https://anchor.fm/the-special-focus/episodes/BLF-Deputy-President-Zanele-Lwana-on-The-Special-Focus-e9c0ku
  7. ^ a b "New party ponders elections". Independent Online. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Out! ANC upholds Julius Malema's expulsion". Mail & Guardian. 24 April 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Mngxitama: EFF in bed with ANC". ENCA. 12 February 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  10. ^ "EFF EXPELS 3 OF ITS SUSPENDED MEMBERS". Eyewitness News. 11 April 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Land expropriation without compensation? No thanks, says Minister". People's Assembly. 3 July 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  12. ^ "HOW MALEMA SOLD OUT ON LAND REFORM". BLF. 10 May 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  13. ^ "The People's Manifesto". BLF. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  14. ^ "BLF attacks peaceful protesters outside Gupta event: JAI". www.enca.com. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  15. ^ "TimesLIVE". www.timeslive.co.za.
  16. ^ "Gupta PR firm quits after being targeted in 'political attacks'". Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  17. ^ http://bbbee.typepad.com/files/343530184-bell-pottinger.pdf
  18. ^ Claymore, Ezra. "Read: how Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama asked the Guptas for money". www.thesouthafrican.com. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  19. ^ Liebenberg, Dries. "SABC News - Mngxitama calls for a black bank & seizure of white farms:Friday 11 August 2017". www.sabc.co.za. Archived from the original on 8 October 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2017.
  20. ^ "BLF Exposed: Bell Pottinger 'commissioned' Mngxitama, received instructions from Guptas". The South African. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Bell Pottinger guilty of 'exploiting racial tensions on behalf of Guptas'". Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  22. ^ a b c "ANC's Makhosi Khoza warned 'you have 21 days to live'". 15 July 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  23. ^ a b c Reporter, Citizen. "Number used to send Makhosi Khoza death threats registered to BLF – report". The Citizen. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  24. ^ [1]
  25. ^ "BLF Colours and Logo". BLF. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  26. ^ "Constitution Of The Black First Land First Movement". BLF. 24 October 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  27. ^ "Black First! – Land First! A revolutionary Call". News24. 13 August 2015. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  28. ^ "Message from the National Convener #1". BLF GP. 6 September 2015. Retrieved 16 September 2016.
  29. ^ https://blf.org.za/2016/10/22/black-first-land-first-frequently-asked-questions-blf-faqs/
  30. ^ "FARMLANDS". Lauren Southern. 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2018.
  31. ^ "Electoral Commission : Political party list". www.elections.org.za. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  32. ^ "BLF aims to raise R605K for 2019 elections | IOL News". Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  33. ^ FF+ claims victory as 'troublemaker' Black First Land First deregistered. Retrieved on 15 July 2019.
  34. ^ "We don't target blacks, BLF tells MP Khoza". www.enca.com. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  35. ^ L, Black First; First (16 July 2017). "Daily Maverick created the Dr Makhosi Khoza story". Black First Land First. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  36. ^ "Ferial Haffajee: The Gupta Fake News Factory And Me". Huffington Post South Africa. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  37. ^ admin (17 March 2017). "Beware of black liberals like Ferial Haffajee". Black Opinion. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  38. ^ "WATCH: Another respected SA editor targeted by BLF". HeraldLIVE. Retrieved 2 July 2017.
  39. ^ a b c "SAHRC concerned about intimidation of media". Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  40. ^ a b "Human Rights Commission slams BLF for intimidating journalists | IOL". Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  41. ^ "Kathrada Foundation salutes Suna Venter, slams BLF threats | IOL". Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  42. ^ admin (4 July 2017). "BLF taken to court by white racist journalist". Black Opinion. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  43. ^ admin (6 July 2017). "BLF meets racist white journalists in High Court". Black Opinion. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  44. ^ "BLF in altercation with amaBhungane journalist at Cape Town airport". News24. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  45. ^ de Villiers, James (17 July 2017). "amaBhungane considering legal advice following alleged BLF attack on journalist". News24. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  46. ^ "'Lucky we don't fight black people' - BLF to amaBhungane journo after alleged assault". News24. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  47. ^ a b "Cape storms the fault of 'white monopoly capital' - Mngxitama". News24. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  48. ^ Claymore, Ezra. "White Monopoly Capital to blame for storms. Black First Land First leader". www.thesouthafrican.com. Retrieved 10 June 2017.
  49. ^ Friedman, Daniel. "White existence is a crime, says BLF spokesperson". The Citizen. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  50. ^ a b Gous, Nico. "Mngxitama trying to take SA back to 'dark ages of apartheid'‚ says ANC". Sowetan Live. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  51. ^ Friedman, Daniel (20 December 2018). "Mngxitama rejoins Twitter only to be banned within a day". The Citizen. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  52. ^ Pijoos, Iavan (10 December 2018). "'You kill one black person, we kill five white people' – BLF president". Sunday Times. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  53. ^ a b Nemakonde, Vhahangwele. "Twitter suspends Mngxitama's account after 'kill whites' threats, IEC assessing what to do". The Citizen. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  54. ^ "Results Dashboard". www.elections.org.za. Retrieved 11 May 2019.

External links[edit]