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Pretoria - Instead of their signature red regalia, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members wore yellow T-shirts on Monday after Unisa allegedly told them their event headlined by advocate Dali Mpofu could go ahead only if they did not wear their usual colours.
Marshals wore yellow Unisa T-shirts. Their red berets were also absent.
Unisa EFF convener Mpho Morolane said: “The university said the marshals should not wear EFF regalia because it would incite violence.”
The event was organised by the EFF and the Academic and Professional Staff Association.
Mpofu said: “We are not a violent organisation. If people do not want us to share our ideas, they should just say so and not bring up flimsy reasons. We have only had two violent incidents. One was here at Unisa last year and the other was a few weeks ago when we were pelted with bottles and stones in Nkandla. And in both those instances we did not retaliate.”
Last year, the EFF and South African Students’ Congress clashed after a talk by EFF leader Julius Malema was cancelled at the last minute. The organisation also clashed with the ANC in Nkandla when it went to hand over a house to a community member.
Mpofu was speaking at a seminar on: “The struggle for education and labour justice continues. From apartheid to Marikana.”
He said he could not speak on the legalities around Marikana as the Farlam Commission of Inquiry was sitting in Centurion.
The commission is investigating the killing of 44 people in strike-related unrest at Lonmin’s Marikana operations near Rustenburg in North West in August 2012.
Mpofu said: “The South African democracy is judged pre-Marikana and post-Marikana. We have a situation where one of the largest strikes in the platinum sector is under way and another one likely to start in the gold sector. There are about 100 000 workers on strike.
“We also have another crisis in the education system. How do you have about 100 000 students passing matric and only absorb 25 000 into universities? And of that 25 000, you cannot even offer all of them free education.
“We need to realise that socio-economic justice is at the root of all our problems. Whether in the workplace or the education sector, inequality is at the centre of the problems.”
Mpofu said the EFF was passionate about bridging inequalities.