The ANC has come out strongly against Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama, describing his "kill whites" comments as "an attempt to set us back to the dark ages of apartheid".
"The rant about 'killing white people' shows an extent of [Mngxitama's] ignorance to the history of this country," ANC acting spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said on Wednesday.
During a speech in Potchefstroom over the weekend, Mngxitama reportedly urged an audience to kill five white people for every one black person that dies because of taxi violence.
"You kill one of us, we will kill five of you. We will kill their children, we will kill their women, we will kill anything that we find on our way," Mngxitama said.
There has been outrage from parties and organisations such as the DA and trade union Solidarity. The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) on Wednesday confirmed it had received numerous complaints.
The ANC said it was "disgusted at the racist remarks made by Mngxitama hurling racist diatribe against white people".
The ANC said, as a leader in society, it has been enhancing social cohesion to create a nation that is non-racist, non-sexist and democratic.
"Every citizen's right to human dignity is protected in the Constitution," Kodwa said,
"The ANC calls on the SAHRC to conduct an investigation into the conduct of the BLF leader on violation of human rights. His comments clearly incite violence in South Africa."
Meanwhile, Solidarity said it would approach the Electoral Commission of South Africa to file a complaint against Mngxitama to stop his party from participating in next year's elections.
In a tweet on Monday, the commission said it noted the "serious allegations against the BLF's leader".
"The commission will offer the party an opportunity to clarify its statements in the light of the values of the Constitution. We will assess the matter for an appropriate course of action after receiving a response."
Words taken out of context
Mngxitama said his comments were justified and he did not see any reason why the commission would deregister his party and give in to calls to not allow it to participate in the coming elections.
Mngxitama said that his words had been taken out of context and explained that he had only called for black people to defend themselves.
The ANC said that, as a nation, "we need to learn about each other's practices, respect the right to freedom and be tolerant of each other".
"... Vulgar and offensive language drags us back to the crude apartheid past and undermines the work we have done in building social cohesion," Kodwa said.