Concerns that EFF’s Phoenix march may lead to violence and resurgence of racial tensions
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Johannesburg - The SA Council of Churches (SACC) has expressed concern over the planned EFF march “against racist Indians” which was expected to take place today (Thursday) in Phoenix.
The SACC said the march would destabilise the situation in the area leading to possible violence and a resurgence of racial tensions.
More than 36 people are believed to have died in Phoenix due to what some have described as racial killings. The SACC had been trying to create an atmosphere of peace and dialogue between the Indian community in Phoenix and the black community from surrounding areas.
A video had been circulating on social media of a man walking around KwaMashu with a loud hailer, calling community members to come to the march.
In the video, the man says: “The EFF will not be sending roses to Indians. We will not be kissing and making up. Those who are scared should stay home.”
SACC spokesperson Thataetsile Semeno said church officials had tried to get the EFF to back out of the march.
“We are scared of what could happen because the area is still healing from what happened and our members have been in meetings trying to convince the EFF to stop the march,” he said.
Semeno added that the SACC had a problem with the wording on the EFF poster which gave an impression that the march was against all Indians.
The poster said: “EFF eThekwini tegion, march to Phoenix against racist Indians.”
Semeno said the wording of the poster was enough to create tensions between blacks and Indians.
Real Democracy, a civil rights group, said it had written a letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa appealing to him to force the EFF to stop the march to Phoenix.
The groups spokesperson Srini Naidoo said the situation in Phoenix was too volatile and those who would be marching could walk into a trap.
In a letter to the president, Naidoo says: “It is clear that the EFF have no intention to march peacefully through Phoenix on Thursday. We are given to understand there are EFF members who are encouraging people to come armed to the march. We also have reason to believe that members of the Phoenix community are gearing up for confrontation and will be armed as well. The outcome will be a carnage that will be many orders of magnitude worse than ever before.”
Naidoo said it was in the interest of peace, goodwill and reconciliation that the march should be stopped. He said allowing the march to proceed would be irresponsible.
“Those responsible must be held accountable when the dust settles.”
Meanwhile, the DA had approached the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in a bid to stop the march from taking place.
The party also said the march could end up in violence.
SAHRC chairperson Professor Bongani Christopher said he could not comment as he was at a funeral in KwaZulu-Natal.
EFF provincial chairperson Vusi Khoza dispelled violence rumours that were circulating on social media.
Khoza said the march will be peaceful and no one will be armed.
“As the EFF we have always had peaceful marches. Just as all our marches, this one too will be peaceful,” he said.
The party’s national spokesperson Vuyani Pambo was not available for comment.