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Super blacks: definition — those who are more equal than you

Ideas

Super blacks: definition — those who are more equal than you

People like Lindiwe Sisulu and Dali Mpofu think it’s fine to belittle others, but whatever you do don’t criticise them

Columnist
In Mandisa Maya's Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interview the EFF's Dali Mpofu made a crass joke about how he had spent a night with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) president. Only later did he clarify that he meant they had been at an all-night study session.
DESPICABLE In Mandisa Maya's Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interview the EFF's Dali Mpofu made a crass joke about how he had spent a night with the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) president. Only later did he clarify that he meant they had been at an all-night study session.
Image: Alon Skuy/Gallo Images

There is a new and special class of people in SA. I call them the “super blacks”. This class has arrogated to itself the right to insult and denigrate other black people and races, but they must not be criticised. They have special rights to dignity, but black and other people who are not of their class don’t.

Yes, dear reader, through this class of people we can see that though the new SA is a mere 28 years old, we have transitioned from the great principle that “all are equal” to one where “some are more equal than others”. We are everything George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm foretold: from fighting a noble struggle for equality for all to the reality of a country where some are holier than thou.

To these special people, these “super blacks”, some rights are not universal. They belong only to a special group — them. Nothing has revealed them quite as clearly as the “debates” over the judiciary and constitution that have erupted over the past few weeks.

In January, for example, tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu accused black judges of being “mentally colonised”, among many other things. When acting chief justice Raymond Zondo responded, asking that she reflect and withdraw the insults, he was roundly attacked. ANC Women’s League leader Bathabile Dlamini said: “Ordinary South Africans must discuss the issues comrade Lindiwe raised instead of hurling insults.”

Zondo uttered not a single insult against Sisulu. Neither did many of those who defended the our transformative constitution. Yet instead of roundly condemning Sisulu for hurling these terrible epithets at our judges, the minister was cast as a victim. More than a month later she has not apologised for these and other insults she spewed in a column. Sisulu is a “super black”, you see. She can insult, but won’t be argued with, let alone insulted back. If your dare do so then you are racist (if you are white) or a “house *****” if you are black.

These are the 'super blacks'. They claim to practise ubuntu, but in their books that is only for those who are in their factions and cliques.

Sisulu’s defenders range from those in the ANC who supported former president Jacob Zuma and his radical economic transformation faction to leaders and members of the opposition, such as the EFF’s Dali Mpofu. To them Sisulu gets a blank cheque: she can insult and demean black judges as much as she likes, but those who disagree with her dare not even try to discuss her contempt for the constitution.

These are the “super blacks”. They claim to practise ubuntu, but in their books that is only for those who are in their factions and cliques. Their practise of ubuntu is selective — not all blacks are equal. The super blacks, such as Sisulu and Mpofu, are to be shielded by any means necessary from debate and the mildest of challenges. Ordinary blacks, such as judges Dunstan Mlambo and Zondo, or any of us, are not worthy of dignity or defence and can be insulted at the drop of a hat. They are lesser because they do not belong to the cabal of untouchable “super blacks”.

Last week Mpofu, the advocate and EFF leader, came under a barrage of criticism. Against all protocols and decorum, he confronted chief justice candidate Mlambo with “rumours” that the judge had sexually harassed female colleagues. There was no charge, no evidence, no complainant put forward to support these “rumours”. Further, Mpofu made a crass joke about how he spent a night with Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) president Mandisa Maya. Only later did he clarify that he meant they had been at an all-night study session.

Now let me ask again, as I did last week: does Mlambo not deserve the rights to fairness and dignity all of us enjoy? Is he a lesser human being, a lesser black person, to the extent that, in his case, all rules can be broken?

Contrast this to when Media24 editor in chief Adriaan Basson wrote a piece defending Mlambo, in which he referred to Mpofu as a “nincompoop” and “scoundrel”. Twenty advocates, including six senior counsel, wrote passionately in defence of Mpofu, a man whose political party has been hurling insults at judges relentlessly for years.

These advocates said nothing when Zondo was called a “house *****” and Mlambo’s rights were trampled upon. What’s going on here? Well, Mpofu is an untouchable super black, while it’s open season on the Zondos and Mlambos of this world.

It would be amusing if it were not so dangerous. The Sisulu grouping hopes for power within the ANC. Its biggest supporter outside the party is the EFF. An alliance between these two forces is very close to the levers of power. Then it’s Animal Farm.

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