EFF Phoenix

Phoenix residents awoke to a high police and SANDF presence in the suburb. Photograph: WhatsApp

EFF Phoenix march: Suburb awakes to high SANDF, police presence

A contingent of SANDF soldiers and SAPS police officers are on high alert in Phoenix ahead of the EFF march to the suburb on Thursday morning.

EFF Phoenix

Phoenix residents awoke to a high police and SANDF presence in the suburb. Photograph: WhatsApp

Phoenix residents awoke to a high presence of police and SANDF soldiers in Ghandi Park ahead of the EFF march to the suburb on Thursday morning.

A poster on the EFF’s eThekwini Twitter page states that the march is in response to the killings in Phoenix that occurred during the recent  unrest. 

“We call for the immediate arrest of all those racist murderers and the confiscation of all illegal firearms in Phoenix,” the tweet reads.

The march comes after Police Minister Bheki Cele announced that 36 people were killed in Phoenix during the unrest as residents took the streets and set up blockades to protect their community from looters and rioters.

Some residents have expressed concern that the march would only serve to heighten racial tensions and the risk of violence.

SANDF presence in Phoenix early on Thursday morning ahead of the EFF march to the suburb. Photograph: WhatsApp

Democratic Alliance leader, John Steenhuisen, wrote to the South African Human Rights Commission earlier this week in a bit to stop the EFF march on Phoenix from going ahead.

He asked the SAHRC in KwaZulu-Natal to intervene and stop the march.

“The EFF thrives on racial division, and so it is very much in the party’s interest to fan the flames of localised incidents of racial tension where they exist. This is the very last thing the traumatised communities of Phoenix need right now,” Steenhuisen said in the letter.

“If that intervention is not within the SAHRC’s power to implement, then I urge the SAHRC to get an interdict from the court. It is, after all, the state’s role to protect people from violence and potential incitement of violence,” said Steenhuisen.

The SAHRC has not yet responded to Steenhuisen’s letter.

Meanwhile African Democratic Change( ADeC) leader, Visvin Reddy announced on Wednesday the he would join the EFF march in Phoenix as a VIP.

Reddy said in a statement that organisers of the EFF march had confided that he would be accommodated at the march and be afforded VIP status. He will also be given a platform to address the people present at the march.

Reddy earlier expressed concern that a peaceful protest by an opposition political party, especially at a time when racial tensions were high, could potentially degenerate into chaos, impacting innocent people.

“I am not afraid as I believe there are more good men and women among all citizens in South Africa. The truth must be told and some mischievous people are deliberately distorting the truth for their sinister agendas,” Reddy said.

“SA Indians, Coloureds and Africans have a proud history of fighting injustices and we will never allow a few thugs to tarnish the unity that has been built over decades.  Many people of Phoenix are worried that the EFF march will result in chaos and bloodshed. I refuse to stand on the sidelines and make comments. I have to practice what I preach,” Reddy said.

“Our enemy is not each other. Its poverty, unemployment and a Ramaphosa government that has sold out the ideals of the Freedom Charter to the highest bidder. The EFF is marching against racism and we are also against anyone who practices or preaches racism,” Reddy said.