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Scuffle breaks out in front of Gupta compound

Gauteng
Johannesburg - “We’re all South Africans,” shouted Cassidy Gray to the group of about 30 Black First Land First activists singing in front of her.

“No you’re not, you’re foreigners,” responded the activists, angrily rushing towards the 15-year-old. “Your ma se * **s. You’re a settler mother f****r! “

They pressed her into a group of Black Friday protesters in front of the Gupta family compound in the leafy upmarket enclave of Saxonwold on Friday.

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Black First Land First protesters and Black Friday demonstrators clashed outside the Gupta compound in Saxonwold.

“You think we are just black pawns here. You are f*****g settlers. Leave,” they shouted, in their efforts to protect the compound as a large contingent of police watched them closely.

The Black Friday protesters started to chant, “Zupta must fall,” while the Black First Land First activists responded, “Boere, one settler, one bullet. Boere boere, one settler, one bullet. Voetsek, f**k off.”

Cassidy, from Blairgowrie, was among several hundred protesters who gathered outside the compound in a peaceful Black Friday protest.

Scuffles ensued when the Black First Land First group arrived later to defend President Jacob Zuma and the controversial Gupta family.

“I was walking past them and they grabbed my sign about Zuma, fees must fall and Marikana and they tore it apart,” said Cassidy. “I wasn’t going to have that and I told them this is my country too. I’m not a settler, I was born in South Africa.

“They spat in my face, but I’m not scared. They came here to a peaceful protest and made it about race, where everyone here was so diverse.”

Residents drove past the Gupta home with placards pasted on to the windows of their expensive cars, declaring “Zuma must go.”

Opposite the compound, a large cardboard sign was stuck on a tree, warning: “Just f*****g go away Zuma and Guptas.”

The police separated the two groups using police tape. Later to disperse the crowd, the SAPS fired a stun grenade, and several more a few hours later, when protesters still refused to leave.

Lindsay Maasdorp, the national spokesperson for the Black First Land First movement, poured scorn on the anti-Zuma protesters.

“We know white people have organised black people to cast black people like the Guptas and Zuma as corrupt. But we know the state was captured when Jan van Riebeeck arrived 375 years ago. We know the black majority remains landless, dispossessed and oppressed. Now what sense does it make that we march with settler-colonisers around a black president who is duly elected?”

Listening to him, Saxonwold resident Nomsa Hadebe, shook her head, remarking Maasdorp was a “racist”.

“We’re not here to fight white people. We are standing together today,” she said.

Chasing after Sparky, her well-groomed Schnauzer dog, one Saxonwold resident said the Guptas had “brought Saxonwold into disrepute”.

“I think they’ve brought our property values down. You live here every day, it’s blue lights all up and down the street, there’s 25 million cars and security guards. This is a beautiful suburb. I want them (the Guptas) to go.”

To woo protesters, organisers announced the grand opening of the #Zupta shebeen in a pamphlet “on the Guptas pavement” at number 1 Saxonwold Drive. The closing time, it read, was “when Zuma goes” and asked “What would Mandela do? please come!”

“Get out of our suburb!” one protester yelled at the Gupta compound.

“This is the head office. This is where decisions are made now. Luthuli House is useless,” said Siyabonga Mbonambi, explaining why he joined the protest at Saxonwold instead of the Joburg march.

In the northern suburbs, small clusters of people stood on numerous intersections, holding anti-Zuma signs, soliciting hoots of approval from passing vehicles.

“I came here to protect my country that is being brought down by Zuma,” Mbongane Mbatha said.

Several protesters carried showerheads, a reference to the cartoonist Zapiro’s caricature of Zuma. – Additional reporting by Mark Olalde.

Saturday Star

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