Renaldo Gouws support campaign removed from BackaBuddy as Elon Musk enters the Andile Mngxitama fray

Backabuddy, a crowdfunding platform, has halted donations to a campaign to assist suspended Democratic Alliance MP Renaldo Gouws.

The campaign had raised R48 475 of its R100 000 goal when it decided to cease taking donations.

Backabuddy CEO Patrick Schofield told IOL that the fundraising effort for Gouws was discussed throughout the day on Tuesday.

“There is an internal review procedure that includes our campaign support and vetting teams, and they usually make a direct decision. In this occasion, the decision on what action to take was requested to involve executive participation,” he stated. Schofield stated that the campaign was flagged fairly soon after its inception, and following a review, the decision was made to close the campaign since it did not meet Backabuddy’s terms and conditions.

Schofield suggested that the funds would be refunded to the donors.

“The donors associated with this campaign will be contacted and arrangements are being made to refund their donations in full.”

The greatest single donation out of 78 unique donors was an anonymous R10,000 donation with the message “Cheers mate, I hope this helps your case, our case, and be well.”

The crowdfunding campaign was set up by a user named Richard Dickson to cover “Renaldo Gouws’s legal bills against the SAHRC and also future legal bills with some of the mainstream media that knowingly misrepresented his words by only playing 15 seconds of a 6 minute video clip which they had access to but refused to publish in full.”

BackaBuddy stated on X that “our platform’s policies enable campaigns to launch immediately.” When funds begin to flow into a campaign, the verification and validation process begins.”

The Democratic Alliance’s suspension of Renaldo Gouws sparked hate speech, threats, and intimidation of IOL employees, management, ownership, and family members. Schofield stated that this was one of the primary reasons for freezing the Renaldo Gouws crowdfunding effort.

“Threats and intimidation played a significant role in our decision to take it down. “This campaign has directly resulted in hate speech and threats, so it has been removed,” Schofield told IOL.

Meanwhile, South African-born entrepreneur Elon Musk has joined the discussion about race in South Africa.

Musk responded to two tweets with exclamation points in which a video of Mngxitama appeared to incite followers during a 2018 rally to kill white people. In the video circulating on Twitter, he says, “For every one person that is killed, we kill five white people.”

Mngxitama: “we kill their women, we kill their children, we kill their dogs, we kill their cats, we kill anything that we find on our way.”

Many Renaldo Gouws fans have compared statements made by EFF leader Julius Malema and recently elected MK Party MP Andile Mngxitama to Gouws’.

The Supreme Court of Appeal found that Malema’s singing of the battle hymn “Dubul’ ibhunu” does not constitute hate speech.

Andile Mngxitama was also cleared of hate speech in 2023 when Afriforum, a civil society organization that campaigns for the rights of primarily white Afrikaans South Africans, brought him before the Equality Court.

The court concluded that “the complainants fell far short of presenting evidence” that such comments may be characterized as hate speech under the principles provided in the 2002 Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act.

The use of the terms “k*ffir” and “n*gger” by Gouws in his now-viral video distinguishes this case from that of Malema and Mngxitama.

Critics have argued that in Mngxitama’s case, in particular, the apparent incitement to violence against a class of people, while allowed by free expression, sets a very dangerous precedent, particularly for low-information, easily mobilized groups of individuals with racial grievances.

Musk, a self-described “free speech absolutist,” has already offered to help the legal activities of people who have been dismissed by their employers as a result of what they have publicly spoken on X, formerly Twitter.

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