Apartheid-era torture tactics are back in the spotlight after the South African government used social media to mock a political opponent who was grabbed by his balls by burly security guards as he was escorted out of parliament this month.
It was a violent and humiliating tactic used by generations of racist, power-mad Boers and White people intent on protecting their hegemony over the country’s Black population for decades. And it ended up leaving many freedom fighters who were part of the African National Congress (ANC) movement led by Nelson Mandela unable to have any children.
But in a sign that sometimes the liberators can become oppressors themselves, it seems the torture method did not die out with Apartheid and is instead now being encouraged by young members of the ANC-led national government to be used on their political opponents.
In the country’s Parliament on Friday, February 10, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters party (EFF), Julius Sello Malema, was escorted out as a tussle between rival parties took place.
Mr Malema soon then tweeted a photo taken of himself with a pained expression as three security guards surrounded him.
“The bastard is squeezing my balls … they always go for my balls this [sic] white shirts,” Mr Malema posted on Twitter.
“They do this all the time.”
Not long after, his tweet was re-tweeted by the South African government’s official account, along with only mocking laughter.
That tweet was then deleted and an apology posted on social media.
“We would like to deeply apologise for the previous retweet. It was a mistake. We reiterate that any form of violence is unacceptable,” a post from the official South African government Twitter account reads.
The ANC has since blamed the incident on a “junior official” who believed he was posting the message from his personal Twitter account. They did not comment on why a government official would think torture tactics are funny.
The mocking of Mr Malema by the government has however not gone down well with other politicians.
“It is very sad that the ANC government has adopted all the dirty tactics of the Apartheid government,” leader of the Congress of the People party, Dennis Bloem, said.
“This immoral and vicious method is to emasculate Malema or any other person not to be effective in his marriage and not to have children.
“Many freedom fighters are affected by this form of torture, many of them are sitting without children of their own, their private parts were permanently damaged because of torture.”
The EFF is a revolutionary socialist political party that was formed by expelled former members of the ANC who believe the original party sold out on its revolutionary ideals to assist poor Black people in favour of global capitalism.