Right2Know marches to demand an end to Joburg protest fees

2018-11-16 12:22
Right 2 Know protesters. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images, file)

Right 2 Know protesters. (Alet Pretorius, Gallo Images, file)

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Advocacy group Right2Know (R2K) is expected to march to the offices of the Johannesburg mayor and Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) on Friday to demand the scrapping of protest fees and an end to what they call unlawful protest practices.

The planned actions comes after the City implemented a protest fee.

"It starts with a R185 'planning cost' to process your 'notification' of a protest. But some organisations have even been asked to pay extra costs, to 'hire' the police and the vehicles that will be deployed at the march.

"At a mass march last year, it was reported that Saftu (SA Federation of Trade Unions) was charged over R10 000 for the police's time," R2K Gauteng organiser Ntombi Tshabalala said in a statement on Wednesday.

READ: R2K condemns KZN MEC's comments 'declaring war' on 'illegal' protests

R2K's view is that the City is exploiting activists and organisations who want to exercise their constitutional right to protest.

"It is a violation of our constitutional right to protest. We will not pay a fee to exercise a basic right! We call on Mayor [Herman] Mashaba and JMPD chief David Tembe to end these practices," Tshabalala said.

The social movement says Friday's march is crucial because attempts to speak to authorities about the protest fees have not been fruitful.

"They refuse to budge, saying these fees are required by the Joburg Council. R2K has also engaged the Office of the Speaker of Johannesburg, to urge an intervention on this exploitation and violation of a basic right. Nothing has happened," Tshabalala explained.

As a result, R2K concluded that, in the current political climate, protest fees infringe on the right to protest for communities to hold the powerful to account and ensure their voices are heard.

R2K is expected to begin its march from Pieter Roos Park before proceeding to the offices of the mayor and JMPD.

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Read more on:    r2k  |  johannesburg  |  protests
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