Black First Land First (BLF) has been warned - refrain from hate speech or risk being deregistered from the upcoming elections.
The Citizen has reported that, in a letter sent to the BLF, dated December 12, 2018, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) warned the party against making statements that "constitute hate speech".
This comes after the commission received complaints about comments BLF leader Andile Mngxitama made at a gathering in Potchefstroom in the North West over the weekend, when he reportedly called on supporters to kill white people.
But on Tuesday, Mngxitama defended the comments at a press briefing, saying that they merely called on black people to defend themselves after recent statements by billionaire Johann Rupert, which he interpreted as "incitement to violence" against black people, News 24 earlier reported.
Prior to the commission's warning, Mngxitama threatened an "arm struggle" if the electoral body deregistered his party.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) also confirmed this week that it would investigate the comments after it too received multiple complaints.
"The [SAHRC] is in the process of registering the complaints against Mr Mngxitama in accordance with its complaints handling procedures for purposes of conducting an investigation into whether or not human rights have been violated and what steps should be taken to secure appropriate redress," the SAHRC said in a statement on Wednesday.
In addition, the ANC entered the fray on Wednesday, accusing the BLF leader of attempting to set South Africa back - to its dark apartheid era.
"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 in a statement.