27 January 2014
Economic Freedom Fighters is disturbed to learn of an incident of intimidation of its members by leaders of the African National Congress in Ethekwini region, KZN.
On the afternoon of Saturday the 24th January 2014, after a successful EFF visibility event in iNanda, 4 members of EFF were verbally abused by the ANC councilor of ward 54, Mr Zimisele Madla and ANC chairperson of the same ward, Mr Zakheleni Sibisi. The third participant in this nonsensical display of fascism by leaders and members of the ruling party is a man called Justice Khoza, a known ANC member in the area.
Four EFF members; Lindokuhle Hlongwa, Bheka Dzanibe, Thokozani Khoza and Melusi Hadebe, dressed in EFF regalia, were walking on the road to a nearby shop when the three ANC thugs named above shouted at them to get their attention. They then stopped to hear what the three elderly looking men had to say when Khoza shouted: ‘the berets you are wearing are not welcomed here, this is an ANC ward’.
The much younger EFF members responded with complete silence, seeing that they were being harshly reprimanded by elders of the neighbourhood on the road. Sibisi then added, ‘if we ever again see you in these berets and t-shirts, we will beat you up badly and ban you and your families from living in this area. You don’t know the history of this area, if you did you would never support EFF’. At this point the ward councilor was nodding in agreement but did not utter a word to protect the constitutionally enshrined political rights of the citizens of his ward as is expected of all ward councilors.
Feeling seriously intimidated and fearing for their lives the fighters then went to the home of another EFF member to report what had just happened. She in turn telephoned the Ethekwini regional office to seek guidance on the best way to deal with this issue. Ultimately the fighters went to Vela police station of Saturday evening to report the incident and were unfortunately met with very complacent and indifferent police officers who seemed and sounded reluctant to be of any help to them. It was only after the EFF regional office intervened telephonically to compel the police officers to do their job that the officers agreed to take a statement and advised EFF members to get a protection order at the local court on Monday the 27th.
EFF is disappointed that its members traumatized by the bullying and harassment meted out by ANC leaders and members, cannot always rely on members of the South African Police Service to come to their rescue, even by issuing a stern warning to political thugs that South Africa is a constitutional democracy and has no room political intolerance and violence. Our members had to walk back home by themselves late at night still in shock and fear whilst the transgressors slept peacefully.
EFF, yet again, appeals to the ANC leadership, membership and supporters to refrain from expressly and/or tacitly violating the rights of EFF leaders, members and supporters in particular and those of all South African citizens in general. The country has come a long way from a very painful transition from apartheid to democracy which saw many innocent civilians become casualties of the differences that existed among political parties. That violence and bloodshed was particularly prolonged and protracted in the province of KwaZulu Natal.
We as EFF are fully committed to a peaceful, free and fair electioneering season and national election of 2014 but we will not fold our arms and watch our members being threatened, intimidated and assaulted by people who talk democracy and tolerance by walk fascism and violence. It looks like the saying that ‘overtime liberators become oppressors’ is being fulfilled right before our eyes. EFF will not let it happen. In defense of democracy and the rights guaranteed in the constitution we condemn with maximum contempt all acts and attitude that seek to ridicule and silence those who have differing political views and affiliation. Such behavior is diametrically opposed to the struggle for liberation in which so many of our heroes and heroines paid the ultimate price, their lives. The ruling party should not be the main ingredient in the elements that are making our hard won democracy descend into total chaos.
Issued by the Economic Freedom Fighters Ethekwini Region
Ethekwini Region Convener, Jackie Shandu