Despite a series of troubling scenes on Friday, protests in Brackenfell have been dispersed by police. Tensions boiled over to fever pitch in the afternoon, as one attendee was assaulted by a group in red regalia. SAPS also cranked up the firepower this morning, turning water cannons on EFF protesters; something that didn’t pass Julius Malema by.
The EFF leader was a no-show in Brackenfell, but praised party Secretary-General Marshall Dlamini for leading the line instead. The Western Cape ‘ground forces’ of the Red Berets showed up in their hundreds, as counter-protesters were shut-out from launching their own demonstrations. However, that did little to quell the fraught atmosphere:
Speaking on his Twitter account, Julius Malema branded the EFF members in Brackenfell as ‘fearless’, and expressed his pride in the way his supporters came together. He even had time for a very luke-warm joke about Marshall Dlamini’s leadership, and insisted that those opposed to the EFF’s crusade ‘could not kill them all’:
“Well done fearless ground forces of the EFF. Don’t explain yourself to anyone. We are proud of all of you; the leadership of the disciplined force of the left under the militant leadership of Commissar Marshall Dlamini – marshalling the forces. They will not kill us all.”Julius Malema
This may not be the end of the drama in Brackenfell, however. Dlamini himself says that the EFF will occupy the town ‘permanently’ if their demands are not met. The party has requested that the high school at the centre of the protests must fire two teachers – those were allegedly involved in the planning of a ‘whites-only’ matric dance.
They have given the school a seven-day deadline to respond. The teachers deny all allegations made against them.