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Red alert – DA, City of Cape Town seek interdicts against EFF’s shutdown amid ‘threats’ of violence

Red alert – DA, City of Cape Town seek interdicts against EFF’s shutdown amid ‘threats’ of violence
EFF leader Julius Malema. (Photo: Gallo Images / Luba Lesolle) | DA leader John Steenhuisen. (Photo: Gallo Images / Darren Stewart)

The EFF is facing two interdicts ahead of its planned ‘national shutdown’ next week. While municipalities in the Western Cape agree on a right to protest, they say violence, threats of intimidation and looting would not be tolerated. The EFF has dismissed the plans as being 'misguided'. 

The DA announced on Tuesday, 14 March that it would launch legal action and mobilise society against the EFF’s “rampant intimidation and threats of violence” ahead of its planned nationwide shutdown on Monday, 20 March 2023. 

The party briefed the media from Cape Town on Tuesday where leader John Steenhuisen said the DA was concerned by “intimidatory tactics being employed by members of the EFF, who are threatening ‘consequences’ for any business that dares to open and trade on the day, and for any adult or child who dares to go to work or school on that day”. 

The nationwide shutdown will take place on 20 March. This will be a special school holiday as the following day, Tuesday, is Human Rights Day. 

“The DA has been inundated by calls from concerned South Africans, who have expressed their concerns and their fears… the DA takes the EFF’s threats seriously,” said Steenhuisen. But the party would not allow the EFF to threaten businesses, livelihoods, and lives. “There is mounting evidence on social media and in public statements by EFF leaders, members and supporters that they are fully prepared to break the law in pursuit of their own political agenda.”

The party said it would take steps to prevent violence, including: 

  • Approaching the courts to ensure the EFF complies with permit conditions issued by municipalities for their peaceful protests;
  • The party is seeking a court interdict to ensure that the EFF leadership formally retracts all letters issued, including one to OR Tambo International Airport that warned the airport authorities to not allow any flights or business activities on the day;
  • A draft affidavit has been created by DA lawyers that can be used by business owners who have been intimidated by EFF representatives to report such behaviour and press formal charges;
  • The DA had also written to Police Minister Bheki Cele to highlight “the imminent threat posed to the economy, public and private infrastructure, as well as to the safety of citizens, by the EFF’s planned nationwide shutdown”. It wants Cele to issue a “strong statement” against the shutdown, to assure citizens that the SAPS and the entire security cluster were on standby to respond to any violence;
  • The DA wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa, asking him to issue a “stern pre-emptive warning” that no violence, vandalism or intimidation would be tolerated; and
  • The party resolved to press charges against the EFF and hold them personally liable for any damage done to persons, property, lives and livelihoods perpetrated during their shutdown.

EFF responds

In a statement, the EFF described the DA’s intended legal action as an “anti-democratic publicity stunt” that was “frivolous” and “misguided”. 

The claim of intimidation and predicted violence was “part and parcel of the DA’s racist philosophical outlook, which depends strongly on the supposed irrationality of black people, and the racist presumption that African people have no capacity to express themselves in a peaceful manner”. 

Read more in Daily Maverick:EFF’s national shutdown plan — another publicity stunt with near-zero chance of becoming reality

Other parties who have joined the EFF for its shutdown include the South African Federation of Trade Unions, the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania, the Land Party. The EFF said none had “expressed any intention to commit criminality or violence”.

Asked for comment on the DA’s application, EFF national spokesperson Leigh-Ann Mathys said Tuesday morning that there was a brief not to speak to Daily Maverick. The party has a long-standing ban on interacting with journalists from this publication. 

Read more in Daily Maverick:A statement from Daily Maverick Editor-in-Chief Branko Brkic on EFF congress and important media freedom issues


Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

The DA’s legal action was “doomed for failure because it lacks basics, and is a poor publicity stunt to appeal to an anti-democratic, right-wing constituency”.

Municipalities and province get involved

On Tuesday morning, the City of Cape Town announced it would be filing an application for an interdict against “any attempts to incite or participate in looting, vandalism and disruption” as part of the shutdown. 

“Cape Town will be open for business as usual, and authorities are well prepared and equipped to deal with what is likely to be only limited, isolated attempts at disruption by the EFF. Would-be disruptors will be arrested and we are also seeking a precautionary interdict against looting, vandalism or disruptions,” said mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis

The City recognised the right to democratic protest, but it did not allow for “thuggery aimed at terrorising members of the public”. 

The City would ensure Capetonians would be able to go about their business on Monday. “Should any damage to public infrastructure occur on Monday, the City will not hesitate to lay a civil claim against the EFF, given their public threats made to date,” said the mayor. 

Other Western Cape municipalities have raised concerns about the shutdown. Stellenbosch Municipality said on Twitter that while it supported the right to gather and protest peacefully, “we do not condone the deliberate threats of violence, looting & intimidation”. 

Bitou (Plettenberg Bay) mayor Dave Swart said the municipality respected the rights of people to protest peacefully but also respected the rights of people to not participate in any protest action. 

The municipality would put measures in place to protect property and lives and to minimise disruptions. “As an executive mayor, I will write to SAPS and seek assurance that they are ready for all scenarios across Bitou Municipality.

“Bitou Municipality traffic will work with other law enforcement and security stakeholders to put a contingency plan in place”. 

Western Cape premier Alan Winde said that threats of disruptions to services, of violence and looting of businesses were “totally unacceptable”. 

“The EFF has the constitutional right to protest, but it is intolerable for them to threaten the constitutional rights of other citizens, especially where essential services such as individual safety, healthcare and education are concerned,” said Winde. 

The premier would meet MEC for police oversight and community safety Reagan Allen and the provincial police commissioner to discuss the police plan of action to “protect the lives and livelihoods of our citizens”.

The police have said they are preparing measures for the shutdown. According to News24, the South African Police Service said it would not tolerate lawlessness and any criminality during the planned shutdown. The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure has already made preparations for the shutdown, the police confirmed.

ActionSA has also responded negatively to the EFF’s plans,  saying it “unequivocally” condemned the threats of a national shutdown . “We particularly condemn the EFF’s threats of mass anarchy and lawlessness, and that businesses that do not voluntarily shutdown may be subjected to looting”.

“The EFF either fails to understand – or simply do not care – that such a shutdown will cause economic losses that will likely lead to the retrenchment of the workers they supposedly represent. Additionally, police and emergency services will have to be reverted from providing critical services to poor communities to deal with the EFF’s criminality.”

The party added that the economy is already suffering under “myriad ANC-induced crises”, and “the last thing South Africans need is the EFF inciting its members to cause further destruction”. The country could also not afford to send the message to the international community “that we are a nation of thugs” when “we desperately need to attract foreign investment to grow the economy and create jobs”. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • L Dennis says:

    Thank you DA for serving the people of South Africa. God bless our beautiful country and bind those with ulterior plans.

  • Johan Buys says:

    stop feeding the EFF publicity! They know as well as anybody else that if they try and take action against ordinary people and businesses that ignore their shutdown it will end very badly for the EFF

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    Clearly the EFF doesn’t expect widespread public support or it wouldn’t feel the need to threaten people to stay at home. Hardly a democratic exercise.

  • Carsten Rasch says:

    I can’t help wondering what would have happened if the media and everyone else decided to ignore this naughty little toddler and his nasty games. Now he’s got the oxygen he wanted. The best way to deal with childish tantrums is to simply ignore them. Typically the child starts sucking his thumb or a dummy and soon falls asleep. This is also the best medicine for this inkwenkwe known as Malema.

  • Peter Atkins says:

    Has anyone seen how other provinces are reacting? Or are they being more low-key and ignoring Julius?

  • Sue Grant-Marshall says:

    The EFF is desperate for publicity, as it trails in the dust of other parties. Shutting down SA for a day creates, and has created, massive headlines for it. So, how do responsible media, like Daily Maverick, handle such a situation? It’s a tough call.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    I am going shopping on 20 March. I really need some malt and yeast for a batch of home brew.

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Spot on Carsten!

  • Glyn Morgan says:

    Why call him “Julius” as tho’ he is a buddy? He is Malema.

  • Peter Doble says:

    This fascist organisation can’t be ignored and neither can their actions be taken lightly. Malema’s intentions have been writ large from the beginning – destabilise the state, remove constitutional government and grab power by obtaining minority rule. The worst case scenario of the 2024 national election is a minority coalition.

  • Johan Fick says:

    Well said, Its in the dictionary!
    “p174 Inkwenkwe (uncircumcised boy). 1959 L. Longmore Dispossessed 159 Among the Xhosa, when a man does not behave himself, he is called inkwenkwe, an uncircumcised boy — one who has not been given the training to prepare him to be a worthy member of the community.”

  • Libby De Villiers says:

    No, Mr Malema, you never say you are going to be violent or criminal,
    You go out to protest, see nice things in the shop windows and lose the plot. Lack of leadership, discipline and opportunism – that’s the thing.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    Bit of an exercise in futility getting court order. Just gives thugs yet another excuse to break the law, adding another example of how civil society is over a barrel. I agree with those saying don’t give Malema the oxygen, SABC (Independent and impartial?) are particularly fond of giving him air time.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    Political parties with no tradition or credentials of struggle will never understand mass action that includes a shut down because by their very nature their grasp of the public anger on the issue electricity is very superficial and they that holding press conferences is enough. For the poor who for days go without electricity with nobody caring to explain the situation, the streets become a better option than the useless press conferences in their view that have no impact. The middle
    class will mouth the state of the economy as if it is going to change by no – action and just public comments.
    The necessary action by the EFF and SAFTU has three components to it. The first it is very educational to the public in what is really happening from the left point of view at Eskom and what the left thinks about the IPPs and their role in the current crisis which is diametrically opposed to the DA position. The DA has not done itself any favours by opposing and fighting the mass action. What it has done it has told the poor that thy do not care about how they feel and their lived experience regarding the electricity issue and its impact on their lives from having to throw food away and being unable to watch television for not only hours but for days and damaged appliances. They do not have money for solar or generators and that has to sink to many people. When a transformer explodes for the poor it is not two days but months to be fixed. They will express themselves on Monday.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


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