- KZN police chief Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi says the EFF has not formally notified them about their planned protest on Monday.
- Mkhwanazi warned that the EFF “will be stopped if found to be infringing on the free movement of others.
- The EFF says it does not intend telling the police anything relating to its planned “national shutdown”.
KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi says the EFF has not served the police with a notice to protest ahead of the party’s planned national “shutdown” on Monday, which may lead to possible confrontation.
Mkhwanazi, who was flanked by Community Safety MEC Sipho Hlomuka and representatives from the community policing forum and national taxi association in Durban, briefed the media on Friday.
“The law does not require the EFF to get permission from the police to stage a protest, but they must give notice to the police. If they don’t give the notice, law enforcement [officers] are likely to stop them,” he said.
Mkhwanazi said that this would be done to protect citizens who were not be participating in the protests.
“They [EFF] might be stopped if their march and movements interrupt the freedom and rights of others.”
He added that the EFF still had a chance to formally notify the police about its scheduled protest actions.
“If they give notice, and they say they want to move from point A to point B, we can plan accordingly in terms of security so that their right to protest is also protected,.”
ROLLING COVERAGE | EFF threatens mass shutdown on Monday
However, EFF officials in KwaZulu-Natal told News24 that they would not be making any plans with the police ahead of Monday’s planned demonstrations.
National spokesperson Sinawo Tambo echoed the same sentiments.
“We have no intention to serve anyone with any notice. Our right to protest is protected by the Constitution, so [we] don’t have to tell the police anything,” he said.
‘Business will proceed as normal’
While EFF leader Julius Malema has previously said their protests would be peaceful, he told reporters on Wednesday that anyone who interfered with them would “meet their maker”.
Hlomuka encouraged residents to go about their normal day-to-day activities and told reporters that plans had been put in place to protect citizens.
He added that they were encouraged that Santaco had distanced itself from the protests as it meant public transport would operate normally.
“Equally, the bus industry will be operating as per usual, trains will be working, and the freight industry have also engaged their members not to participate or be used in the planned protests.”
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Hlomuka said law enforcement officers would be placed on high alert from Sunday and would “monitor developments every minute and hour of the day until the protesters disengage”.
“As part of our operational plan, we have an additional deployment that will be dedicated to this protest action. This will augment the existing 18 000 SAPS members in the province. Deployments will be made in areas which are perceived to be more fragile and seen as hot-spots, including national key-points.”
While the business community has encouraged residents to exercise vigilance on Monday, it has discouraged the suspension of operations out of fears around the protests.
“We’ve lost many days of operating during the last couple of years due to Covid-19, load shedding, rioting and the floods. We can ill-afford to shut down,” said Prasheen Maharaj, president of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Maharaj said many businesses would use the services of private security companies, and called on the police to fulfil their promise to ensure law and order during the protests.