🔒 Dirk Hartford: Gayton Mckenzie’s controversial xenophobic rhetoric

In a political landscape rife with contention, Gayton Mckenzie, leader of the Patriotic Alliance (PA), asserts his party’s pivotal role alongside the EFF in upcoming elections. However, this claim faces skepticism, especially concerning the PA’s national influence. Both Mckenzie and EFF’s Julius Malema share ANC roots and employ divisive tactics, targeting “whites” and “illegal immigrants,” respectively. Mckenzie’s inflammatory rhetoric, particularly against vulnerable immigrant communities, raises concerns about potential xenophobic unrest. Amid promises of drastic measures, his controversial past, including involvement in a contentious empowerment deal, casts doubt on his credibility. As Mckenzie strives for political significance, his recent 10th-anniversary celebration debacle adds further uncertainty to his role as a political influencer.

Sign up for your early morning brew of the BizNews Insider to keep you up to speed with the content that matters. The newsletter will land in your inbox at 5:30am weekdays. Register here.

Patriot Alliance leader sparks controversy with Xenophobic rhetoric

By Dirk Hartford

Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader Gayton Mckenzie believes his organisation (and the EFF) are the kingmakers in next years elections.

His certainly right on the EFF and almost certainly wrong on the PA. The PA and the EFF do have a lot in common, but king making at a national level is not one of them.


What they do have in common is that both leaders (Gayton Mckenzie and Julius Malema) come from the ANC, both are opportunistic and pragmatic and will get into bed with anyone who suits their immediate objectives, both are barely disguised dictatorial “supreme leader” types, both have been involved in nefarious activities, both their organisations are 10 years old this year and both are divisive political leaders fond of mobilising support by inciting their supporters against significant “others” in society.

The “whites” in Malema’s case and “illegal immigrants” in Mckenzie’s. Both groupings being othered by these politicians are roughly the same size – between 4 and 5 million people. 

Read more: McKenzie vs Malema for 2024 Kingmaker: New pact talks to oust the DA & ANC from the WC…

Mckenzie’s incitement is the most pernicious, not only because immigrants are the most vulnerable sector of our society, but also because immigrants are already under attack every day and several xenophobic flare-ups have already occurred.

The most likely fissure around which the country might “blow up” is not along tribal or racial lines, but around xenophobic ones, according to social media trends analysis and NGO’s on the ground.

By adding fuel to the fire Mckenzie is provoking what could become a future genuinely to ghastly to contemplate – a Rwanda style xenophobic conflagration.

“The devil sent other devils here to SA to come and sell drugs to our children, to sell body parts of our people, to come and take the jobs of South Africans” he raged at the disastrous flop of a 10th anniversary celebration at Orlando Stadium last weekend. 

“We don’t want illegal immigrants here – Amahambe (let them go)” was his battle-cry and seemingly the main plank of the PA’s political programme.

He promised that if he was in power “they are going home” and that he would be going “straight to Rahina Moosa hospital to switch off the oxygen of illegal foreigners”.

He also said he would introduce national service for the youth, bring back the death penalty and declared his support for Israel. On economic policy, not a word.

He was wearing a shirt with the words “WAR and we are ready” emblazoned on it. 

One can only hope that this darling of some big businessmen in SA, whose party has over 80 seats in municipalities mainly in coloured areas, is dragged before the SA Human Rights Commission for hate speech soon.

What is it that people like Mckenzie are even taken seriously by some in the business and political community ? The primary constituency he might deliver is gang ravaged coloured townships because he knows how to speak their language as it were.

And especially in the coloured community in the Western Cape his outspoken support for Israel is going to cost him dearly.

A recent Social Research Foundation survey on South African attitudes towards Israel found that 60% of surveyed coloured people “strongly agreed” with the statement: “The government of Israel practises Apartheid policies against the people of Palestine.”

True, he has the gift of the gab, and who doesn’t like a redemption story like his? From 16 year old gangster and bank robber, to inmate at Grootvlei prison, to a Damascene conversion after witnessing the brutal gang rape of a white teenager in the prison, to exposing corruption in the prison system which led to the Jali commission of enquiry, to his freedom and celebrity like status as a motivational speaker and writer, to becoming a multi-millionaire.

Read more: 🔒 Dirk Hartford: Why Vusi’s “Siya for President” suggestion has great merit

What exactly he did or does is not entirely clear but he and his partner in crime and the PA. Johannesburg Transport MEC Kenny Kunene, had a penchant for fast cars, private planes and sushi feasts off the bodies of near-naked women at one stage. 

The Springbok and ex-gangster Ashwin Willemse has also been a close friend and business partner of his.

Wikipedia says Mckenzie has worked as a “consultant in the mining industry[ and runs a diversified business with interests in restaurants, hotels and events venues, logistics and transport, imports, mining, energy, entertainment and events, publishing and farming.”

Its as a “mining consultant” that he first charmed his way into the echelons of big business. Some say he battered his way in because he was wearing an ANC cap at the time and wasn’t shy about wielding it and his political connections to the mining big wigs desperate for political correctness.

Goldfields Chief Executive at the time (2013)  Nick Holland ended up getting an R8 million rap over the knuckles after a secret investigation costing the company “millions of dollars” had found that the Mckenzie led empowerment deal had “caused us immeasurable harm and money” according to then Goldfields chairperson ANC stalwart Cheryl Carolus.

The R2.1 billion empowerment deal put together by consultant Mckenzie included Invictus, a BEE consortium of 73 individuals which reads like a who’s who of ANC power brokers at the time.

While the EFF’s10th birthday celebrations at the jam-packed FNB stadium was a triumphant success for Commander in Chief Julius Malema, Gayton Mckenzie’s copy-cat version at Orlando stadium last week was an unmitigated disaster which Mckenzie put down to “sabotage”.

Mckenzie is an unlikely kingmaker and businessmen wanting to support opposition politics should think twice before banking on him.

Read also: