MK vets are displaying pure intimidation, paving the road towards tyranny.
It may have only been a small group of protesters; they may have been carrying no weapons and they may not have acted violently – but they represent a frightening future for this country.
The uniformed Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) veterans who gathered outside the home of South African Communist Party (SACP) senior leader Solly Mapaila this week, chanting “Hands off Zuma!”, were the visible manifestation of a rising intolerance and belligerence among supporters of President Jacob Zuma.
There are those who may argue it was “only a demonstration” and that freedom of speech is a constitutional right.
But we believe the event, with its sinister military overtones, was pure intimidation.
Mapaila and the SACP have been outspoken critics of Zuma in recent weeks, yet they have stopped well short of calling for violence or rebellion.
In return, they claim, they have been targeted by the Zuma faction within the ANC.
SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande told a Cosatu meeting on Monday, prior to the Mapaila protest, that “our comrades, some of them are threatening us, in the meetings, saying that they didn’t train for nothing as MKs”.
Last month, the SACP alleges, a gunman was captured on video pointing a firearm at Mapaila at the Chris Hani memorial ceremony.
Shortly before the Mapaila protest, Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema went on Twitter to warn the SACP man that he should strengthen his security detail, adding: “Solly Mapaila is the only one the old man [Zuma] is worried about.”
Zuma and others on his side in the ANC have tried to paint their opponents as traitors working with nebulous “foreign powers” to bring about “regime change”.
A climate of fear is being deliberately fostered. We should be worried, because further along that road you arrive at a dictatorship.