CCG to charge violent protesters

2017-12-06 06:02
PHOTO: suppliedA screenshot of a video taken at the CCG event where protesters stormed the hall.

PHOTO: suppliedA screenshot of a video taken at the CCG event where protesters stormed the hall.

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THE Concerned Citizens Group (CCG) intends to lodge criminal charges against a group of people who violently protested and disrupted their fundraising dinner at the Stanger Siva Sungum Hall on Sunday.

Buckets of faeces were dumped at the entrance to the hall, protesters - some dawning ANC t-shirts - threw stones and attempted to attack organisers and patrons, property was vandalised and stolen and guests were intimidated by the protesters who allegedly opposed the presence of guest speaker, former finance minister Pravin Gordhan. Placards carried by the protesters read: “PG – a sell-out of the struggle”, “ANC is better off without traitors” and “PG is the co-author of The President’s Keepers”. According to CCG chairperson Haroon Mohammedy the event was held to raise funds for the CCG and had no political affiliation.

“Pravin Gordhan was invited in his personal capacity as a guest speaker.”

He said the incident with the faeces was perpetrated by an unknown individual. The protesters had gathered about 100 metres from the hall before making their way towards the venue. While I [Mohammedy] was addressing the audience, the protesters made their first attempt to forcibly enter the hall. This was approximately 15 minutes into the programme. When Mr Gordhan was on the podium, a more violent attempt to enter the premises was made by the protesters. They broke down the roll-up shutter door and gained access into the kitchen.”

According to Mohammedy, those who were able to gain access vandalised the area and stole refreshments.

“They hurled two litre cooldrinks at the volunteers, causing injuries to a few women. They also overturned pots of food that were prepared in the cooking area in another part of the hall. They intimidated staff of the catering company and stole some of their personal effects.”

Gordhan had to curtail his speech as he had an early flight to Johannesburg and there was concern about his and his wife’s safety. He was removed by his bodyguard promptly and they left the venue, Mohammedy said.

“The CCG is indebted to the younger male guests who formed a barrier in front of the entrance to the [main] hall, preventing the protesters from gaining entry. Were it not for their intervention, greater damage to person and property would have been caused.”

The CCG expressed disappointed at the “lack of co-operation” by SAPS.

According to Mohammedy, despite numerous calls made by guests and officials and SAPS did not respond timeously.

“They came much later after the damage was done. A request for police protection was made about a fortnight ago. A letter was addressed to the cluster commander, General Chirwa for his attention. This matter will be taken up with a higher authority.”

Commenting on the attire of some protestors Mohammedy said: “Protesters were seen wearing T-shirts of the ANC, some bearing the face of ANC presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. It is quite clear who these protesters were representing. It is expected that leaders of the represented organisations would discipline their members.”

Mohammedy concluded that the CCG is in consultation with its legal team and will open criminal charges. “We expect the authorities to discharge their obligations in respect of this. “Despite the disruptions, the function continued as planned and concluded successfully. The CCG wishes to apologise to our guests, especially Mr Gordhan for the unruly behaviour of the protesters and the interruption caused.”

Responding to the rumors that the protesters belong to the ANC Youth League, the league through its regional secretary Musa Zondi has distance itself from the actions of the “unruly” protesters and has condemned the actions that occurred at the Sungum Hall.

“We do not know anything about the protest as the ANCYL KwaDukuza. We had not organised such a programme and we strongly condemn the actions of the group. About the ANC T-shirts we can neither confirm nor deny that those were members of the ANC as you know that anyone can wear organisation’s T-shirt, but not necessarily represent the organisation,” he said.

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