EFF Phoenix

Image via: @EFFSouthAfrica

Phoenix march: ‘SAPS must take action against EFF members’ – DA

The DA have called on SAPS to take action against members of the EFF who broke lockdown laws during their march to Phoenix on Thursday.

EFF Phoenix

Image via: @EFFSouthAfrica

After thousands of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members mobilised and descended on the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) town of Phoenix on Thursday to protest against “racist Indians”, the Democratic Alliance (DA) have demanded that police act quickly to take action against participants who broke lockdown regulations. 

The EFF gathered in Phoenix to voice their contempt for the alleged criminal acts perpetrated by the Indian community there, following the death of 36 people during last month’s violent riots. 

EFF members ‘clearly breach lockdown laws’  

In a statement issued on Thursday 5 July – hours after the EFF members arrived in Phoenix – the DA called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to “take action against the EFF after yet another of their marches has broken numerous lockdown regulations to which ordinary South Africans are required to adhere”.

Andrew Whitfield, the DA’s Shadow Minister of Police, said that members of the EFF had clearly breached lockdown protocols , saying that images and videos on social media “clearly show protestors without masks, gathering in a large crowd with no social distancing being maintained”. 

“It’s certainly interesting that the EFF is claiming to protest the lives lost during the riots and looting in KZN nearly a month ago, but cares so little for the lives and safety of their supporters in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. 

EFF ‘proudly break laws and regulations’ 

Whitfield said that the actions of the EFF – and lack of arrests resulting from the alleged lockdown infringements – demonstrate a double standard regarding the rights of South Africans who have been ordered to comply with extraordinary measures aimed at stemming the spread of the virus. 

“Whilst ordinary citizens would have endured the full wrath of SAPS, and have been persecuted for lesser transgressions, the EFF is allowed to do as they please and endanger the lives of people by not only hosting potential super-spreader events, but also with the threat of violence, vandalism and intimidation that has become synonymous with EFF protests,” he said. 

He said that SAPS has “different rules when it comes to the EFF”, and said that SAPS consistently fail to act against the EFF when they break the law.

“It is time SAPS realised that they are not the EFF’s private security, they exist for the safety and security of ordinary South Africans who are regularly threatened and intimidated by the EFF and whose businesses routinely bear the brunt of their violence and vandalism,” Whitfield said. 

“It cannot be that a party that only preaches violence and hatred and incites its supporters to unspeakable acts are protected when they flagrantly and proudly break laws and regulations.”

Economic Freedom Fighters lament police presence at march

The EFF, on the other hand, said that SAPS have taken the side of the Indian community in Phoenix, with the party saying on Twitter earlier in the day that efforts to block the red sea of EFF members from gaining access to Phoenix is a clear indication of SAPS’ contempt for the party.

“The police have taken a side in support of the racist Indians as they deny Ground Forces access to the march; police have blocked the entrance in Phoenix,” the EFF said on Thursday morning.