The sharing of a Facebook post containing a video criticising the Black Lives Matter movement and protests shared by DA MP Manny De Freitas has ruffled the feathers of at least one party member, who condemned the video as “flagrantly racist”.
The video in question shows a black man talking into the camera. He starts off by saying: “I can’t believe I have to explain this shit to these brain-dead ass n*****.”
The man in the video says that he knows that black lives matter because he sees that they matter, and that he does not go to the street “screaming this s*** like a f*****g idiot” and “throwing a temper tantrum like a damn child”.
He then states that people would not get arrested if they did not commit crimes, and would come to no harm when faced with police if they did not resist.
He then ends with “You dumb stupid ass motherf******”.
The comment imported with the share, read: “Well hello, here’s my message to all those dumb asses who bend the knee and do the salute. ALL LIVES MATTER!”.
De Freitas himself did not add a comment to the post when he shared it.
When asked for comment about the post, he said he agreed with the video’s sentiments, just not the way it was done.
The post is a reference to widespread protests in the US, recently re-triggered by the abuse of black people, including the killing of George Floyd, who was held down by a policeman who rammed his knee into Floyd’s neck.
Critics of the Black Lives Matter movement have tried to question its relevance by arguing it should be replaced with “All Lives Matter”.
This posturing has been met with responses that Black Lives Matter doesn’t ignore the value of all lives, but is founded on seeking equality for black people and to have black people enjoy the same treatment and rights as other people.
In one of three comments on De Freitas’s page, former City of Tshwane spokersperson and DA member Sam Mgobozi commented: “This is so flagrantly racist.”
Another comment on the page reads: “Do you really believe this BS? Are you really this blind to the plight of BLM? You don’t belong in SA politics. Breonna Taylor, Elijah Mc claim [sic], Ahmaud Arbery and countless others were NOT remotely involved in criminal activity and they got killed by police anyway. A black guy spewing this shit on a video does not vindicate your screwed up ideals.”
The third comment after Mgobozi’s reads: “You are missing the point.”
Asked what he thought of the comments posted to his share so far, De Freitas said he had not seen them, but he aligned himself with the sentiment in the video that it was unacceptable to break things and that everybody should be treated equally.
Asked about the racialised language, and the man’s comment that he has no problem with the police because he was not a criminal and did not resist arrest “like a f*****g moron”, De Freitas said that “[t]hat is how he expresses himself but the message is important”.
“I’m not sure what the problem is.”
Asked whether he thought the post might be offensive to people who supported and identified with the Black Lives Matter movement, he said that most people did not understand what Black Lives Matter meant.
He then became extremely agitated, and after a bout of shouting, ended the call.
Attempts to get comment from the DA’s leadership and a party spokesperson since Tuesday have been unsuccessful.
This is not the first time a social media post by a DA MP or senior official has been called into question for its comments and positioning on race. DA members Diane Kohler Barnard and its federal chairperson Helen Zille have come under fire over their social media activity.
Kohler Barnard’s suspension was uplifted eventually.
Some of its top black leaders such as former DA leader Mmusi Maimane and former City of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba had since left the party.