The leadership of Black First Land First (BLF) are in a public tussle, with claims and counterclaims of non-membership and impropriety being flung at one another…

According to a statement released on the BLF official Twitter page, its controversial leader Andile Mngxitama is not a member of the party.

The statement, or “letter of suspension”, reads: “The letter serves to confirm to the general membership and the media that the following Comrades; Andile Mngxitama and Shanta Balashkrina are not genuine members of BLF until such time they provide proof of membership…”

Speaking to News24 on Monday, Mngxitama said: “I have read the statement… our Twitter account, the passwords there were altered.

“It looks like at this point our Twitter account has been hacked.”

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Asked about the authenticity of the statement, the leader of the “Land or Death” party said it was not a BLF statement.

“Not [that] it’s not… I mean, the SG is suspended, he’s facing a number of charges. He has asked for an extension, to respond to them, and he has been granted an extension.

“That suspension has got nothing to do with this letter circulating right now. He [was] suspended three weeks ago,” said Mngxitama.

“That suspension has got nothing to do with this letter circulating right now. He [was] suspended three weeks ago,” said Mngxitama.

In a follow up interview, Mngxitama added: “The BLF Twitter account has been hacked. The SG has been suspended for over three weeks. He is facing numerous charges. He has asked for an extension from DC. He is a fairly new member; I appointed him a year ago. It seems he has gone rogue. Instead of subjecting himself to the DC, he is making untrue statements.”

In a telephonic interview with News24, BLF secretary general Siphesihle Jele, in whose name the statement was issued, insisted on the authenticity of the statement, adding that the Twitter account had not been hacked.

“The statement stands. It is authentic…there is no hacking, no hacking of the Twitter account,” said Jele.

“We are authorised, it is our statement… we are challenging them to produce proof.”

The BLF leader has since provided what seems to be proof.

The genesis of the conflict appears to be in relation to the formation of a union. Jele has been accused of forming a union using the database of BLF.

“You don’t need a database of a particular political party to open a union,” Jele said.

“BLF members consist of employed and unemployed people from a variety of provinces. How do you then take membership and say, ‘no these are people who belong to us and they are employed, please open a union for us’, you can’t use a database to open a union.

“We discovered last year that he [Mngxitama] wasn’t a member, but he was arrogant, he didn’t budge.”

Mngxitama and his party – which managed to garner a mere 0.11% of votes nationally in the May general elections, were most recently in the news after being ordered by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to refrain from continuing to accuse billionaire and mining mogul, Patrice Motsepe, of meddling in Botswana’s politics News24 reported.