Cape Town - The DA is marching to court in an attempt to stop the EFF from threatening businesses and forcing schools to close during the party’s national shutdown on Monday, March 20.
The Stellenbosch Municipality, Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis and Western Cape Premier Alan Winde spoke out strongly on Monday against threats of looting during what he EFF is calling “the mother of all shutdowns”.
EFF leader Julius had called on the unemployed, those affected by load shedding, crime, corruption, and gender-based violence to take to the streets to protest against the failures of government and demand that President Cyril Ramaphosa step down.
DA leader John Steenhuisen joined his colleagues’ chorus yesterday when he announced the party would be taking pre-emptive action against “the threats by the EFF of widespread looting and intimidation in relation to their March 20 proposed national shutdown”.
Steenhuisen added that while the right to demonstrate peacefully is protected by the Constitution, it shouldn’t infringe the rights of others.
“The recent attempts by the EFF to threaten, intimidate and coerce business owners into shutting businesses, schools to be closed and the threats to (public and private) infrastructure cannot go unchecked,” he said.
Steenhuisen said the DA would approach the courts to interdict criminal actions that may arise from the shutdown – and not the protest itself.
This morning we have filed interdict papers against the EFF based on their intimidation & looting threats.— Geordin Hill-Lewis (@geordinhl) March 14, 2023
Peaceful protest is fine. Violence is not. In Cape Town we are building the economy, so more people can get into work. While we build, the EFF just wants to break. No! pic.twitter.com/OLcvKiEjH1
He said the interdict is to ensure that the EFF upholds municipal regulations and laws that regulate protests and that EFF members be held personally liable for damage to infrastructure.
Steenhuisen also called for the immediate withdrawal of the EFF’s letter, which was apparently sent to OR Tambo International Airport, demanding the closure of the continent’s second biggest airport on Monday.
The DA drew up an affidavit template for businesses which have been threatened by the EFF. This affidavit can be filled in and submitted at their nearest police stations.
“We ask citizens to join us in standing up against illegal behaviour, disorder and chaos; and to stand on the right side of the law,” Steenhuisen said.
In a statement hitting back at the DA, the red berets labelled the planned legal action a “publicity stunt”, “frivolous”, “misguided” and confirmation that the DA wants to bail out President Cyril Ramaphosa “as a proxy of its neo-liberal policy outlook”.
“The first fallacy of the claims of the Democratic Alliance, is that the national shutdown is illegal, and will be characterised by violence and mobilisation towards it has been based on intimidation,” the EFF said.
“This is false as the right to protest is enshrined in the Constitution, and will not only be practised by the EFF, but multiple stakeholders who have expressed their intention to form part of the shutdown.
“Their second baseless claim of intimidation and predicted violence, is 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.”
The EFF’s action will be joined by the South African Federation of Trade Unions, UDM, PAC, the Land Party.
The EFF’s statement said its partners for the shutdown had not expressed any intention to commit criminality.
“The DA is therefore raising a false alarm, because they rely on the logic of Swart Gevaar, in which black people demonstrating against the conditions in which they live pose a threat to the status-quo.”
The EFF said despite unions and other opposition parties joining the shutdown, the DA “deliberately” chose to single out the EFF because the DA “realised that the EFF remains its only ideological enemy and a direct threat to its status as the official opposition party”.
The EFF said the DA’s legal action is doomed to fail as it lacks basis and a “publicity stunt to appeal to an anti-democratic, right-wing constituency”.
“It is further telling that the DA has at this stage only applied for an interdict against the national shutdown only in the City of Cape Town, as it reveals their narrow fetish to categorize the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape as a province separate from South Africa.”
The EFF’s main reason for the shutdown is its call for Ramaphosa to step down.