Basis for 'land or death' ruling against BLF 'weak', says FXI

While the Freedom of Expression Institute has expressed its concerns about the ruling, the Freedom Front Plus has welcomed the order giving the BLF a month to remove the contentious slogan from its website, social media platforms, and regalia.

FILE: Black First Land First Leader Andile Mngxitama and members of his party arrive at the IEC head offices in Centurion. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) said it was concerned about the Equality Court’s ruling declaring the Black First Land First (BLF) slogan “land or death” hate speech.

FXI director Samkelo Mokhine said the basis of the decision was weak.

“We would agree offhand with the court if Mr Mngxitama went one step further, for it was more clearer to say ‘if we're not given land, these people should be killed’... then it’s much clearer that he’s advocating for imminent violence. If he just says land or death, and we're not even sure whose death?” he said.

The Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus) welcomed Monday’s decision with FF Plus MP Wouter Wessels saying the party had been vindicated by the ruling.

“The BLF is not interested in rule and order and in maintaining a constitutional democracy. We also welcome the fact that it was ruled hate speech because that proves what the FF Plus is saying, that BLF’s constitution is conducive for hate speech and racism, and this is proof thereof,” Wessels said.

The court has given the BLF a month to remove the contentious slogan from its website, social media platforms, and regalia.

The matter was referred to the courts by the South African Human Rights Commission after it received a complaint.

BLF leader Andile Mngxitama remained defiant on Monday, saying his party wouldn’t stop using the slogan.

Last week the Electoral Court ruled that the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) was wrong to deny the FF Plus an opportunity to challenge the BLF's registration as a political party.

The FF Plus took the matter to the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg in a bid to have the BLF deregistered before the elections.

The ruling meant the BLF would be allowed to contest the 8 May elections until the IEC reviewed its decision to allow the FF Plus the opportunity to oppose the BLF’s registration.

_Additional reporting by Kgomotso Modise _