Indian community leaders in Phoenix have welcomed the Economic Freedom Fighters march in the area over the killings that took place during the unrest.
Umesh Singh, chairperson of the Phoenix Community Police Forum, said many political parties have come to the area recently and the EFF also deserves its opportunity.
“As long as it’s peaceful. The number is a lot more than we anticipated but we hope there are no problems,” he said.
“We welcome them into our community. We are a mixed and diverse community with a range of political parties and each party has a right to come here and address anyone.”
Over 1000 EFF supporters have descended to the Gandhi Luthuli Peace Square Park to take part in a march to the Phoenix Police station.
The supporters will be escorted by a heavy police presence past the residential areas of Phoenix.
Vusimuzi Khoza of the EFF has promised the march will be peaceful.
“There must not even be one stone that is thrown or anyone assaulted. However, if you try to poke us with your finger in the eye, we will break it,” he said, while addressing the crowd.
Ronnie Veeran, Phoenix community leader and National Chairperson of Minorities Of South Africa (MOSA) said they received assurances from the EFF leadership the march would be peaceful.
“I don’t think there were bad racial tensions in Phoenix, it’s been terribly exaggerated. They have a right to march and if they do that to express their views or anger against the Indian community then so be it,” said Veeran.
He was present at the march, saying he was against the criminality that led to 36 people losing their lives in Phoenix during the unrest.
Three of the dead were of Indian descent while the rest were black.
Visvin Reddy, leader of the African Democratic Change (ADEC), said he would be joining the EFF in the march for peace.
“I’ve come here to reassure the EFF and their supporters that there are SA Indians who are peace loving. There are many organisations in Phoenix that reach out to disadvantaged African communities whose state is as a result of a failed government,” said Reddy.