Jubilation as Cape EFF members arrested outside Clicks store set free on warning
Cape Town - The EFF sang and danced as 16 members were released from jail on Saturday after they were arrested during protests outside a Clicks store.
The group were arrested at Eikestad Mall, Stellenbosch, and charged with contravening a court order that the retailer had been granted to halt protests outside their stores.
On Saturday, the group were released on a warning and ordered to appear in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The EFF rallied its supporters to protest and shut down Clicks stores this week following public outrage after hair brand, TRESemmé, posted an advert on the Clicks Group’s website that described African black hair as “frizzy and dull,” while a white women’s hair was referred to as “normal”.
The South African office of Unilever said they would set up an advisory board and a diversity committee after apologising for the “racist” hair-care advert.
“We were shocked to discover that we had supplied images for the Clicks website that portrayed black hair as inferior. This was racist and we apologise unreservedly,” Unilever said in a statement.
EFF Western Cape leadership said that not all the 16 people arrested were EFF members, and that Nosipho Makamba-Botya, a member of the provincial parliament and deputy chairperson of the EFF, was in the group of 16. Makamba-Botya has an added charge of assaulting a police officer.
Judge AJ Sievers ruled that the group be released on a warning.
The EFF’s attorney, Stephan Osborne, said: “The accused addresses and other particulars was confirmed late on Friday afternoon so the only course available was to bring an application to the High Court to have them released,” said Osborne.
He added: “No charges are being dropped. The application was also brought on the fact there is Covid-19 regulations issued that the State rather releases people charged with minor offences because they are not adequately equipped.”
Yesterday, EFF supporters arrived at the court in bakkies and minibuses. It was a long wait, as legal counsels consulted with each other and then in chambers before Judge Sievers made his ruling.
After seven and a half hours the crowd, donning their trademark red overalls and berets, were finally told their fellow EFF members were free to go home.
The EFF had earlier in the week met with Clicks and Unilever management and agreed on among other things, to delist the hair-care brand and donate sanitary towels.
EFF leadership in the Western Cape were at pains to explain that none of their members had been arrested for riotous behaviour or damage to property but that they had been charged with contravening a court order.
Melikhaya Xego, EFF provincial chairperson, told the crowd that he was aware of at least 16 EFF supporters in the Eastern Cape who had also been arrested on the same charges.