marches to union building banned

EQUAL Education has been denied permission to march to the Union Building later this month.

EQUAL Education has been denied permission to march to the Union Building later this month.

This after the Presidency placed a blanket ban on all marches to the Union Building "until further notice".

But a constitutional law expert believes this is an infringement on gatherings.

Equal Education is a national movement of pupils, parents, teachers and community members working for quality and equality in education. As part of their nationwide SA Libraries Week, the organisation wanted to march in Cape Town on March 21, Pretoria on the 26th, and Polokwane on the 30th.

Equal Education's Doron Isaacs said: "We gave the Tshwane metro police notice of our intention to march to the Union Building more than a month in advance, though the legislation requires only a week's notice. But since then the police haves repeatedly refused Equal Education the right to march to the Union Building.

The reason given is that there is a blanket ban on marches to the Union Building as directed by the director-general in the Presidency, Vusi Mavimbela."

In a fax to the metropolitan police Dumisane Mahlasela, head of public participation and public relations in the Presidency, said: "I wish to confirm that Vusi Mavimbela, director-general in the Presidency, has directed that all marches to the Union Building and the Presidency be suspended until further notice.

"This is to allow us to review guidelines relating to the granting of permission to those organisations wishing to march and submit memoranda to the Presidency."

Yesterday, Equal Education filed an urgent application in the Pretoria high court, demanding to march at Union Building.

Constitutional law expert Pierre de Vos said: "Demonstrations at the Union Buildings are generally banned.

But the Regulations of Gatherings Act of 1993, Section 7(2), states that the ban is not absolute. One may apply to the director-general: office of the state president, who can grant permission for such a gathering."

Political analyst Sipho Seepe said he was against the marches:

"There should be other ways for people to try and get their point across in the absence of being antagonistic," he said.