Andile Mngxitama. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/DEAAN VIVIER
Andile Mngxitama. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/DEAAN VIVIER

The DA is lobbying to prevent Black First Land First (BLF) from contesting the 2019 general elections.

It has launched a petition against the party’s participation in the polls on the grounds that it has “shown itself to be a cabal of unrepentant racists whose mission is to divide South Africans along racial lines and to undermine the constitutional value which states: ‘SA belongs to all who live in it’,” DA youth leader Luyolo Mphithi said on Sunday.

The move follows the Twitter support BLF spokesperson Lindsay Maasdorp gave to a comment by a Facebook user,  who said he could not feel pain for the three pupils of Hoërskool Driehoek in Vanderbijlpark who died when a bridge collapsed on Friday, assuming them to be white.

In a tweet that has since been deleted Maasdorp reportedly said: “Why should we frown on the ancestors’ petitions to punish the land thieves, including their offspring.”

Maasdorp’s tweet unleashed a storm of outrage on social media and condemnation from the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation. The foundation’s executive director, Neeshan Balton, said the comments were “despicable”.

BLF leader Andile Mngxitama said on Sunday that the DA’s efforts to have it excluded from the elections were a “complete nonstarter”. He gave the assurance that BLF’s name would definitely be  on the ballot paper. “Participation in the electoral process is a fundamental right which cannot be taken away willy nilly,” he said.

Mngxitama said the BLF would hold a media conference this week to deal with Maasdorp’s comments, which he said had been taken out of context.

However, Mphithi said the Independent Electoral Commission of SA could not in good conscience accept “that a party, which marvels at the death of three young learners at Hoërskool Driehoek, is placed on the ballot paper and given the opportunity to contest [the elections] in order to peddle hate along racial lines in parliament or the country’s nine provincial legislatures”.

Mphithi said the DA had reported the BLF to the SA Human Rights Commission.  The party hopes a report from the commission will support  its case to have the BLF barred from the elections.