What do the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and the African National Congress (ANC) have in common? The fact that the leaders of both have been found to be in violation of the Constitution? Or both pontificate about the Freedom Charter (which interestingly was drafted by the white elite); or that both are adept populists, race-baiting demagogues sprinkled with grains of misogyny and entitlement? You will receive no prize for guessing that the one thread that unites these two political parties is — without equivocation — hypocrisy.

Among the sanctimonious voices in the Helen Zille colonialism tweet debacle is the EFF. The party is engaged in labelling Zille, and ultimately the Democratic Alliance (DA), as supporters of colonialism. To quote the EFF’s National Spokesperson:

This is what Helen Zille truly is, a cold hearted racist who believes that colonialism, which was crime against the humanity of black people is not a bad thing.” (Sowetan Live)

Of course, with the advantage of hindsight, one comes to see the distortion that arises from what Zille had uncovered as the valuable aspects of the “colonial heritage” in Singapore. The EFF in simply engaged in political point-scoring, despite Zille’s clarification that her tweet is not a justification for colonialism (for what reason she would want to do this is unknown), akin to the ‘public manipulation’ George Orwell warns about.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that the EFF has exacerbated pressure on the DA, calling on the party to remove Zille from her position as Premier of the Western Cape, citing that the EFF cannot be associated with a party that believed in ‘white supremacy’. If that was not enough, Malema went ahead to say:

They [DA] want Jacob  Zuma removed, but they cannot apply the same rules to their own. They must remove her as premier-[the] same thing we demand from ANC, we must also demand from each other. We will stop voting for the DA and at those municipalities, we will not vote for anyone… Zille is prepared to collapse these things because of her ego.”

Malema conveniently compares the ANC to the DA, and Zuma to Zille. However, such a comparison is skewed and highlights Malema’s false analysis.

In the Western Cape, where Helen Zille is a premier, the province recently received a 100% clean audit for the 2015/16 financial year, four times in a row. 9 out of 10 of the best-run municipalities are DA-run, and the DA-led Western Cape has efficient service delivery. Where the DA governs, there is strong investor attraction and the lowest unemployment levels, all of which are an antithesis to the ANC-run municipalities.  

But, deliberately or inadvertently, Malema gives no credit to this and falsely equates the DA to the ANC whose leader has been found to have broken his oath of office repeatedly. The DA – Zille, too – has not been complicit in the ransacking of the public purse. Incredulously as he performs this, Malema believes defending an argument is the same as having an ego. Malema is no stranger to defensive arguments. Would it be wrong for the public to accuse him of being egoistic?  

Below is a list of quotes from Julius Malema, whose racial slurs did not catalyse outrage. In addition to this dissonance, Julius Malema, an adherent to multiple racial slurs and offensive language, was never stripped of his parliamentary responsibilities nor has he apologised for his views.

It is the author’s contention that the quotes below might not all be racist when assessed through an objective lens, but could most certainly be deemed as such should someone of a different hue express them. The hypocrisy is enough to give me goosebumps.

www.economicfreedomfighters.org / Thapelo Lekgowa

We are not calling for the slaughter of white people, at least for now… The rightful owners of the land are black people. No white person is a rightful owner of the land here in SA and the whole of the African continent.”

Malema was addressing supporters outside the Newcastle Magistrate’s Court in KwaZulu-Natal where he faced charges of inciting people to occupy privately-owned land. It is Malema’s insistence that no white person rightfully owns the land.

She is a tea girl of the madam, and her role must remain there in the kitchen for making the tea for the madam. Because that’s what she chose for herself. So I am not going to be debating with servants for the madam.”

He refused to participate in a televised debate with the then-DA MP and spokesperson, Lindiwe Mazibuko, who he is attacking in the above quote. Although Malema’s attack is inappropriate and akin to a political boxing game, these utterings reflect his gender beliefs; that a woman’s role is confined to the kitchen.

In attacking Helen Zille indirectly, Malema said of her:

Have you ever seen an ugly woman in a blue dress dancing like a monkey because she is looking for votes?”

Malema said this at the time when he was the ANC Youth League leader. The simile used was also employed by Penny Sparrow in 2016 when she likened black people to monkeys, to which she was subsequently fined R150,000 and lost her job.

South African discourse has become appalling, to say the least.

Certain arguments, which are posited in an attempt to draw out a discussion are mudded and squashed. Selective remembrance and racial chauvinism are at their peak. This stifles debate, demonises race, hardens racial barriers and greatly hampers intelligent discussions on carving a better society. The most virulent criticism is reserved for even black people who dare divert from the script: ‘apologist’, ‘house negro’, ‘sellout’, ‘defender-of-white-supremacy’ are among but the few nouns reserved for such black interlocutors.

We are in deep trouble.

Kamogelo Mangena is a socio-political activist. A commentator on public policy, politics, gender and sexualities, he holds a qualification in public policy as well as gender studies. He is a graduate of numerous leadership programmes including the Programme for Young Politicians in Africa (PYPA). He currently studies political economy.