Cape Town high court interdicts EFF from 'violence or intimidation' during its Monday march

The City of Cape Town and the EFF butted heads in the high court in Cape Town on Friday over the city's bid to interdict the party from making threatening statements during its march on Monday.
The City of Cape Town and the EFF butted heads in the high court in Cape Town on Friday over the city's bid to interdict the party from making threatening statements during its march on Monday.
Image: 123RF/EVGENYI LASTOCHKIN

The high court has granted the City of Cape Town an interdict against any attempts to incite or participate in looting, vandalism, and disruption as part of the EFF's planned national shutdown on Monday.

The interdict was granted with a costs order against the EFF. Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis welcomed the interdict. 

He said the “intends to be fully open for business in all respects on Monday”. “Everyone has the right to democratically protest in South Africa, but it is undemocratic and unlawful to threaten violence and looting.”

Hill-Lewis said the interdict was aimed at ensuring the organisers and participants stay within the confines of lawful and peaceful protest.

“The interdict also serves as firm notice that the city will not hesitate to prosecute a civil claim against the EFF should any of its public infrastructure be damaged,” he warned.

He added:  “Cape Town will be open for business as usual. We have obtained an interdict against any attempts to incite or participate in looting, vandalism or disruptions. We welcome the court extending the interdict to include protection of private property as well as public infrastructure. The order has further been extended to the whole Western Cape province and includes a costs order against the EFF. This is indeed a victory for the rule of law.”

While the city recognised the right to democratic protest, this did not extend to threatening the rights and freedoms of others.

‘We are well prepared to ensure that Capetonians are able to go about their daily business on Monday. We will enforce this interdict and uphold the rule of law. There will be no national shutdown in Cape Town, our economy does not have time for that,’ said Hill-Lewis.

The city and the red berets butted heads in the high court on Friday.

The city had hauled the EFF to court to obtain an order compelling the party to comply with the Regulation of Gatherings Act during its march on Monday.  

The city also sought an interdict restraining the EFF “from harassing or intimidating any person or making any threatening or intimidating statements concerning the permitted march”.

Further, the city wants the EFF to be interdicted from “inciting violence on or before March 20, whether directly or indirectly”, shutting down businesses and/or damaging private or public property and from interfering with people not participating in the march.

The city cited prominent EFF leaders, including Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu and Marshall Dlamini, alongside the party. The matter was heard on an urgent basis.

In a voluminous affidavit, Cape Town mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the EFF leader had “threatened and intimidated residents in the city, businesses that operate in the city, teachers and principals of schools, and employees who work in the city with various forms of illegal conduct if they do not adhere to the demands of the EFF ...”

Hill-Lewis said the leaders had called for a “national shutdown”.

“The purpose of the protest is to bring the state to a ‘standstill’,” Hill-Lewis said in the affidavit.

He said the relief sought by the city did not impede the EFF’s constitutional right to picket. He said the party had threated to prevent children from going to school, to close every business in the Cape metro and loot businesses if their owners did not shut them, among other threats.  

Western Cape premier Alan Winde asked to be joined as a second applicant in the lawsuit.

The EFF opposed the application.

In an affidavit, Mzubanzi Dambuza, the EFF’s Cape metro secretary, said his party did nothing wrong by “informing the public, including business owners, of the planned shutdown”.

He sought to poke holes in the city’s application and questioned the timing of the complaints made about his party in the run-up to the march.

“This application is flagrant abuse of court process, not least in urgent court,” Dambuza said in his affidavit.

“The EFF ... holds a political view that it is no coincidence that this DA municipality has brought this application, using state funds, on the very same day the DA itself brought its application in Johannesburg.

“Given that the cause of action arose as far back as January 29, and we have shown that the urgency was self-created, what other reasonable conclusion can one draw from the timing of these applications other than concluding that both these applications are co-ordinated to serve no function but to politically embarrass, frustrate and derail the national shutdown organised by the DA’s political opponents?”

TimesLIVE


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