Constitutional law expert Professor Pierre de Vos took to Twitter to tell his side of what happened when controversial Black First Land First (BLF) leader Andile Mngxitama gave him a call.
“Andile phoned me last week to ask me to help with their court case. I said no thanks, because he and his ‘party’ has an enormous credibility problem. His response: ‘You are a f***ing racist’,” De Vos tweeted, adding that his response was to laugh.
Andile phone me last week to ask me to help with their court case. I said no thanks, because he and his "party" has an enormous credibility problem. His response: "You are a fucking racist." My response: "????????????". https://t.co/3EvFyLqNZ0
— Pierre de Vos (@pierredevos) April 4, 2019
The Citizen contacted Mngxitama, who admitted that he told De Vos to “f off and stop his racism” but also accused the legal expert of lying and said he would “never use white lawyers” and that BLF would “rather represent ourselves”.
“I have been expecting a gloating comment from Pierre de Vos after the call I made to him last week. It came as a tweet forwarded to me this morning. I’m banned from Twitter so one’s adversaries can lie with impunity in that forum,” he said.
“De Vos says I called him to ask for help in our case against Freedom Front Plus. It’s a lie. I never asked him to assist BLF.”
The BLF leader said he asked De Vos to sign on to the case as an amicus curiae or “friend of the court” and to repeat an argument he had published regarding another case involving the Forum for Black Journalists (FBJ).
An amicus curiae is: “someone who is not a party to a case and may or may not have been solicited by a party and who assists a court by offering information, expertise, or insight that has a bearing on the issues in the case; and is typically presented in the form of a brief.”
“I was explicit that he has proffered a public opinion as an expert; I challenged him to put his so-called Constitutional law expertise before court and see if they would pass muster,” Mngxitama said.
De Vos said on his website Consitutionally Speaking that he did not agree with a ruling from the Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), which had found that the FBJ’s barring journalists from joining their forum on the basis of race was unconstitutional.
It seems Mngxitama saw parallels between this and his case against Freedom Front Plus, who are arguing that BLF should be barred from contesting elections because the “Electoral Commission Act prohibits the chief electoral officer from registering a political party that excludes membership on the grounds of race, ethnicity, or skin colour”.
BLF has consistently said they would not back down from being a blacks-only party and have even threatened to take up arms if barred from contesting elections.
Mngxitama goes on to accuse De Vos of “chickening out”, of “incompetence”, and of refusing to sign on to the case because he may have “gone back home to the Afrikaner laager”.
A lawyer told The Citizen that phoning someone to ask them to sign on to a case as a “friend of the court” “could be construed as reaching out for assistance”.