S African politician says Twitter chief Musk is ‘illiterate’

The leader of a South African party referred to Elon Musk as an “illiterate” on Wednesday after the world’s richest man accused him of advocating for “genocide” in his homeland.

Amid a broader debate over a controversial anti-apartheid song, a war of words has erupted between Musk and Julius Malema, the leader of the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Malema has faced accusations of inciting ethnic violence for leading chants of “kill the Boer, the farmer” at a weekend rally.

The Boers are the descendants of Dutch settlers.

“Why must I educate Elon Musk, he looks like an illiterate. The only thing that protects him is his white skin,” Malema told a press conference in Johannesburg.

The singing of “Kill the Boer” has been a contentious issue in South Africa for a long time.

“Kill the Boer” is one of several struggle songs, political anthems that played a significant role in the fight against white-rule, but it is considered inflammatory by some due to its violent lyrics.

On Monday, Elon Musk, who owns the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter), wrote a viral post accusing others of openly advocating for the genocide of white people in South Africa.

Elon Musk, who was born in Pretoria, tagged South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, from the ruling African National Congress (ANC), which spearheaded the anti-apartheid movement, questioning why he has not spoken out about the matter.

Malema has faced consequences in the past due to the chant.

Last year, a court ruled that the song did not amount to hate speech, but an appeal is currently pending.

Malema, a 42-year-old charismatic leader, heads a militant party that advocates for reforms to enhance land ownership among Black South Africans.

Prior to the press conference, a group of white supremacists held a protest outside the EFF headquarters.

“Refer Elon Musk to YouTube; there is a full clip of the court appearance,” Malema told reporters on Wednesday. “This matter is closed, we have no time for nonsense”.

On Monday, South Africa’s prominent opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), announced its intention to lodge a complaint against Malema with the UN Human Rights Council.

The EFF refutes the notion that the chant constitutes a direct call for violence.

The dispute arises as South African parties position themselves for the national elections in 2024.

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