EFF interdicted from threatening, harming people, businesses during shutdown in Western Cape

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The Western Cape High Court has granted an urgent interdict directing the EFF not to harm or threaten people and businesses during its national shutdown on Monday.
The Western Cape High Court has granted an urgent interdict directing the EFF not to harm or threaten people and businesses during its national shutdown on Monday.
Tebogo Letsie/City Press
  • The EFF and its supporters in the Western Cape were interdicted from harming or threatening people and property during Monday's shutdown. 
  • Judge Mark Sher issued a list of specific conditions after the City of Cape Town and Western Cape Premier Alan Winde applied for the interdict. 
  • The City and Winde said threats of harm had escalated since the City granted its march permit on 7 March. 

The Western Cape High Court has granted an urgent interdict directing the EFF and its supporters not to harm or threaten people and businesses during its national shutdown on Monday. 

Judge Mark Sher ordered that the permitted march on 20 March should comply with the law, including the Regulation of Gatherings Act, and the terms and conditions of a permit from the City of Cape Town dated 7 March.

The EFF and its supporters are also "interdicted and restrained before, during and after their permitted march" from: 

  • Harassing or intimidating any person or making any threatening or intimidating statements concerning the permitted march.
  • Participating in or inciting others to participate in any unlawful conduct and/or unlawful protest action.
  • Inciting violence or taking part in any form of violence on or before 20 March 2023, whether directly or indirectly.
  • Inciting, implying or threatening the looting of, or damage to, any business, home, building, private property, or infrastructure and/or looting or damaging these properties.
  • Shutting down or damaging schools and inciting others to shut down schools.
  • Shutting down or damaging businesses or government property and infrastructure.
  • Preventing persons from attending their place of employment on 20 March 2023 or raking public transport.
  • Unlawfully interfering with any person in the conduct of their business or work.

The interdict applies to the Western Cape. 

The City and the Premier Alan Winde applied for the urgent interdict citing escalating threats and intimidation against people and businesses. 

The EFF argued the City and province had known since 29 January there would be a national shutdown and issued a permit to the party on 9 March. This contained conditions the party had already committed to abide by.

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The EFF's counsel, Msondezo Ka-Siboto, said the City was using the application to withdraw its permit. 

He added the City had known about the protest since January, met the party and the four law enforcement agencies, and suddenly applied for the interdict days before the shutdown.  

Ka-Siboto said the EFF also had not had time to authenticate the tweets that shook the City and province into seeking the interdict because the City had created urgency and a rush over something it had known about since January. 

The City's counsel, Anton Katz SC, countered by saying:

It's their Twitter account. That's insane.

The permit sets out conditions such as there should be one marshal for every 10 marchers and the marchers must abide by law enforcement instructions, and refrain from arguments or hate speech.

In a statement, Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis welcomed the Western Cape High Court's ruling granting the City an interdict against any attempts to incite or participate in looting, vandalism, and disruption as part of the shutdown.

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"The interdict was granted with a costs order against the EFF. The City intends to be fully open for business in all respects on Monday.

"Everyone has the right to democratically protest in South Africa, but it is undemocratic and unlawful to threaten violence and looting.

"We welcome the court extending the interdict to include protection of private property as well as public infrastructure.

"The order has further been extended to the whole Western Cape province and includes a costs order against the EFF. This is indeed a victory for the rule of law," said Hill-Lewis.

He added while the City fully recognised the right to democratic protest, this did not extend to threatening the rights and freedoms of others.

"We are well prepared to ensure that Capetonians are able to go about their daily business on Monday.

"We will enforce this interdict and uphold the rule of law. There will be no national shutdown in Cape Town, our economy does not have time for that," said Hill-Lewis.  

READ | 'We are not afraid, we want them': Police vow to deal with any criminality during EFF shutdown

Winde also welcomed the interdict. 

"I hope this interdict sends a clear, unambiguous message to anyone intent on shutting down our province and the country next Monday.

"I trust that all aspects of the interdict will be adhered to. Those who proceed with intimidating residents who want to go to work on Monday must face the consequences of their actions," he said.

"We will not allow individuals to behave irresponsibly or place the safety of many thousands of people at risk."

The primary EFF march is from Hanover Street in Cape Town from 11:00 via Darling Street to Parliament to hand over a memorandum of demands.

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