OPINION

We must wake up to the EFF threat - Helen Zille

The parallels between SA today and Weimar in the early 1930s are obvious

11 November 2020

Those who will not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The current culture of victimhood and manufactured outrage makes it all the more difficult to speak the truth and learn the lessons we should. This is why crucial lessons and historical parallels remain buried and unspoken.

I experienced this once again this week, when the DA took a strong stand against the EFF's totally unwarranted actions outside the Brackenfell High School. The EFF's local "fighter command" unit, took it upon themselves to gather at the school in a loud protest, during the Matric exams, because they objected to the racial composition of a private party, organised by a friendship circle of 42 matric pupils at the school.

Western Cape leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, promptly issued a statement condemning the EFF:

"The DA condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing threatening attempts, by the EFF, to bend society to its will by interfering where it has absolutely no business to be.

Following the burning and trashing of stores because of what the they consider offensive advertising, and seeking to tell Chief Executive Officers how to run their businesses, the EFF now thinks it has the right to control how citizens run private functions.

The latest outrage is the EFF protest, outside a school, over a private party held by some of the school’s matriculants -- an event that had nothing to do with the school. To add to the absurdity, the EFF is demanding that the principal be fired.

The background to the matter is this: Brackenfell High School, like many other schools across South Africa, cancelled its matric dance due to Covid-19 restrictions.

As a result, matric learners countrywide organised private parties among their friendship circle as a substitute for a matric farewell. The Western Cape Education Department strongly encouraged such private functions to observe the Covid regulatory environment.

One such party was organised by a group of 42 learners and their parents from Brackenfell High school out of a matric class of 254.

This party had absolutely nothing to do with the school. It was fully funded and organised by the parents and pupils involved.

Private events have absolutely nothing to do with any political party, and it was an outrage that the EFF believed they could arrive to protest outside the school and threaten parents and learners during the matric exam period (or at any other time).

It is also unfortunate that some community members responded in kind. Violent confrontations will do nothing to advance rational analysis, which is more needed in South Africa today than ever before. If we are to prevent people taking the law into their own hands, the Police must do their job properly. It was the job of SAPS to prevent and disperse the EFF unlawfully gathering outside a school and seeking to infringe on the rights of private citizens".

His final sentence was the kicker:

"The Nazi's had the brown shirts. South Africa has the red shirts" or words to that effect.

Although the rise of the EFF has been compared to the rise of the Nazis countless times, when the DA pointed out a completely accurate historical parallel, all hell broke loose on Twitter -- driven by the EFF bot-net of fake accounts. Much of the media fell for it.

It is time to re-state an inconvenient truth about history. In the early 1930's, the Nazi party was a 6% party -- very much like the EFF when it first stood for election. Germany was in a severe depression, with rampant inflation and worsening poverty. The Jewish community was an identifiable high-achieving minority who provided Hitler with a convenient scape-goat for the woes of the majority of German people.

The limp-wristed leaders of the Weimer Republic wrung their hands as Hitler's brown-shirts went around interfering in people's private lives, breaking up meetings, burning business premises -- all the stuff that we see the EFF doing every day -- and harnessing the "scape-goat" phenomenon as an easy and false reason for mass poverty. This is how Hitler built up a mass movement that eventually carried him to power, after which he turned his Brown Shirts into Storm Troopers. We all know where that ended.

So we make no apology for pointing out the parallels between South Africa today and the Weimar Republic in Germany between 1930 and 1934.

We had better wake up. Many other people have already. But somehow, when the DA tells an inconvenient truth, the Bots Rule, and normally sensible people turn into gibbering idiots. I would expect them to see through this faux outrage (that I call fauxrage), and learn from history, so that we avoid repeating it.

That will be the DA's role in this society, and we will play it unapologetically because we absolutely refuse to allow minorities to become the scapegoats of people, as a way of avoiding the responsibility for wholesale corruption by an incapable state presiding over a collapsing economy.

This article first appeared on Facebook.