Elon Musk was called "illiterate" on Wednesday by the leader of a South African party that the world's richest man had accused of "pushing genocide" in his native country.
The war of words between Mr Musk and Julius Malema, leader of the radical left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party, is part of a controversy over a controversial song inherited from the fight against apartheid sung at the weekend last at an EFF meeting.
Mr Malema has come under fire from the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party for inciting ethnic violence by chanting "Kill the Boer the Farmer" at the rally in Soweto.
The Boers are the descendants of the first European settlers in South Africa. "Why should I educate Elon Musk, he seems illiterate. The only thing that protects him is his white skin," Malema said at a press briefing in Johannesburg.
Singing "Kill the Boer" has long been a thorny issue in South Africa, with its violent lyrics seen by some as inflammatory. “They openly push for genocide of white people in South Africa,” Mr. Musk wrote Monday on Twitter renamed X, the social network he owns, in a message that has gone viral.
Mr Musk, born in Pretoria, called on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, head of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), a gravedigger of apartheid, questioning him about his silence.
This chant has gotten Mr. Malema in trouble before. A court last year ruled the controversial chant did not constitute hate speech but an appeal is pending.
"Whether Elon Musk is watching YouTube, there's a full clip of the court hearing," Julius Malema said Wednesday. "This case is closed, we have no time to waste on nonsense". On Monday, the DA said it was considering filing a complaint against Mr. Malema.
This quarrel comes less than a year from elections after which the ANC could, for the first time in its history, lose its parliamentary majority and therefore the presidency of the country.