Chaos erupts in Brackenfell as police fire stun grenades at EFF protesters
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Cape Town – The atmosphere in Brackenfell was tense this morning after the EFF made good on their promise to descend on the area en masse, which resulted in the police firing tear gas, stun grenades and using their water cannon.
The party was protesting against alleged racism at the school after reports of a whites-only matric masquerade ball last month.
A previous protest by the EFF ended in a violent clash with residents who attacked party members.
After the police fired stun grenades on Friday morning, EFF members regrouped into a large mass for their planned protest near Brackenfell High School.
Police have blocked access to the school at three points, hoping to deter the protesters.
A fight almost broke out over a SAPS photographer who was taking pictures of the protesters.
The EFF demanded he leave the area.
EFF secretary general Marshall Dlamini tried to negotiate with the police for their stage to be brought down from the school to the post office area, a small distance from the school, as the number of protesters grew significantly.
The police refused to let more than a hundred people approach the school to hand over the memorandum.
South African Police who fear and are always pushed around by Colonial Settlers and racist thugs are shooting water cannons and using stan grenades at peaceful Fighters. #EFFInBrackenfell pic.twitter.com/kmVFDIoSYe— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) November 20, 2020
#brackenfellhigh #Brackenfellhighschool @etv @3rdDegree_etv @CapeTalk @TheCapeArgus @TimesLIVE @Eusebius @KienoKammies @EFFSouthAfrica @RobinAdamsZA @SoliPhilander 💔💔💔💔💔😭😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/Jzf0DHdRym— Mr Moon (@wallaman78) November 20, 2020
EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego on Wednesday said: “The situation at Brackenfell is something they denied in the beginning and now that it serves their narrative they’re involved and suddenly want to speak about peace.
“Our march will continue as planned as what happened to our members last week, is not something to be taken lightly.”
On Tuesday, the EFF posted on social media that they would “descend and ensure that nothing operates”.
EFF members outside the #BrackenfellHighSchool. The party has been granted permission to protest outside the school from noon.— IOL News (@IOL) November 20, 2020
Video: @PJikelo / @AfriNewsAgency#brackenfellhigh #eff #EFFInBrackenfell pic.twitter.com/33nCOfg2Kd
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz undertook an oversight visit to Brackenfell this morning ahead of the EFF’s planned protest to assess preparations.
Fritz said he did so in fulfilment of “my constitutionally mandated responsibility” to provide oversight over policing in the Western Cape.
“During the visit, I engaged with senior SAPS officials and I was satisfied with their preparations to ensure that order is maintained, and that the safety of the school, its teachers and its learners is guaranteed.
Police set up barricades in Brackenfell ahead of the #EFF march.#effinbrackenfell #brackenfellhighschool #brackenfell— IOL News (@IOL) November 20, 2020
Video: @PoswaGrant / @AfriNewsAgency https://t.co/AqI14u37qQ pic.twitter.com/UFW06ZxC2O
“The EFF has a constitutional right to protest, but this must be done peacefully.
“The EFF must remain off school grounds, as protesting on school property is prohibited by the South African Schools Act, and they must ensure that all Covid-19 protocols are observed, including mask wearing and physical distancing,” Fritz said.
Fritz then again reiterated the calls made by the police and the City of Cape Town, Premier Alan Winde and Education MEC Debbie Schäfer to calm, and for the public to avoid the area around Brackenfell High School.
“It is critical that there are no attempts at escalating the conflict by any individual or grouping, as this will only make the situation more difficult for SAPS to manage.”
He said as stated by Schäfer, arrangements have been made to ensure that matrics writing their exams today do so without any disruption.
“We all need to remain calm and give the SAPS the space needed to manage the protest effectively,” he said.
Any resident wishing to report emergencies that may arise during the protest can alert the City of Cape Town’s Emergency Communications Centre on 107 from a landline or 0214807700 from a cellphone.