DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen. Picture: THULI DLAMINI/SOWETAN
DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen. Picture: THULI DLAMINI/SOWETAN

THE Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday reported what it called "hate speech and incitement to violence" by the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) Bongani Mkongi to Parliament’s ethics oversight body.

The ANC did not comment on the allegations against Mr Mkongi, whose Facebook post also led the Congress of the People to call for his arrest and prosecution for "incitement to violence‚ arson and the possibility of murder".

In a statement, the ANC called for "war on racism" and described the ZumaMustFall calls as "uninformed".

"The DA has today submitted a complaint to the Office of the Registrar against Mkongi‚ for his calls over the weekend to have the ZumaMustFall billboard in Cape Town‚ as well as the building it is on and its occupants‚ burnt down‚" said the DA’s chief whip‚ John Steenhuisen.

"The DA has also included remarks Mr Mkongi made in a rant on Saturday evening, referring to members of the media and public as ‘stupid, white people’‚ and will explore other avenues of recourse such as the South African Human Rights Commission if need be."

ANC supporters on Saturday removed the billboard, which was erected a day earlier.

Prior to ANC supporters storming the building‚ Mr Mkongi said on Facebook: "Join the ANC in Cape Town today at 2pm to burn down the billboard saying ‘ZumaMustFall. The billboard must not be lifted down‚ but‚ burnt down."

When it was pointed out that the people inside the apartment "will burn to death"‚ Mr Mkongi replied: "They must burn to death as it is life for them to keep it that way."

"Mkongi’s remarks are tantamount to hate speech and incitement to violence‚ and the Joint Committee on Ethics and Members’ Interests needs to investigate this potential breach of the Code of Ethical Conduct and Disclosure of Members Interests as well as the Powers‚ Privileges And Immunities Of Parliament And Provincial Legislatures Act‚" said Steenhuisen.

He said his ANC counterpart‚ Stone Sizani‚ "has been incredibly quiet despite Mkongi’s gross violation of his Oath of Affirmation as a Member of the National Assembly as well as SA’s constitutional and reconciliatory principles".

"We call on Sizani and his party to also take internal disciplinary action and ensure that Mkongi is held accountable for his misconduct and hatemongering‚" said Mr Steenhuisen.

Mr Mkongi appeared to have been chastised by Mr Sizani at the weekend‚ as he later took to Facebook to apologise: "Today I posted a Facebook message imploring activists residing in the Western Cape to converge in town and pull down a #ZumaMustFall banner‚ which I believe was offensive‚ provocative‚ racially polarising and has potential to incite political violence.

"I will never call for or incite violence‚ and indeed the removal of the banner today was peaceful. Therefore‚ while I stand by my post that the banner must fall‚ and I am pleased that it fell‚ I apologise for the second part of my message that suggested the banner must burn with the building."

The ANC statement, issued by party spokesman Zizi Kodwa, "calls on all South Africans to declare war on racism and for political parties to refrain from undermining democracy through calls that undermine a democratic outcome".

Mr Kodwa said: "The uninformed call that President Zuma must fall (is) a ploy to divert a real conversation on racism that finds expression in the comments of a minority belonging to a particular party that is intent of achieving the impossible return to a racist past."

Mr Kodwa said that it "is incumbent on all South Africans and particularly political formations that we undermine the scourge of racism that reduced our country to a pariah in the standing of nations and a symbol of backward race relations".

"It is evident that this campaign, which is privately sponsored by particular formations, can only polarise society resulting in strained relations amongst our people."

The DA was widely thought to have been responsible for erecting the banner‚ but denied doing so. The City of Cape Town has said it was illegally put up and whoever was responsible faced prosecution and a possible fine.

"The message‚ judging from recent events‚ is clear that South Africans will not tolerate foreign behaviour by those seeking to reverse our hard won struggles. We encourage our people to undertake an active campaign against racism and those who want to water down democratic values," Mr Kodwa said.

TMG Digital