The Seskhona People’s Rights Movement says they are not deterred by the City of Cape Town’s plans to ban the group from marching in the CBD again. This follows after the group marched to the provincial legislature on Thursday and a few protesters broke away from the march and looted shops on Green Market square.
The organization’s spokesperson Sithembile Mjova told VOC News they were aware of the alleged looting and allegations of damage to property. He said that the organisation has been working hand in hand with security forces and said marshals were in order and prepared to control the crowd.
But City officials has stated otherwise. According to Mayoral committee member for safety and security Alderman JP Smith, the evening prior to the set date of the march, the City was alerted by SAPS of alleged threats made by Majova in the media about the groups intention to partake in violent protests if they didn’t get their way.
“He also allegedly incited people to bring hammers to smash shop windows and upon hearing this we asked SAPS to supply us with a written statement to the affect, so that we would be able to have cause to withdraw the permit in terms of the regulation of gatherings act,” said Smith.
In reaction to this Majova, said that while they had forces available to assist in crowed control, the organization cannot take responsibility for the anger that some protesters were showing. He believes this frustration stems from the plight faced by communities living in informal settlements.
The City has said that they will take action and set plans in motion to prevent the group from marching or staging any form of protest in the CBD
But Majova responded by saying that the City should instead focus on delivering the services to the people.
“We have defeated the City’s attempts to ban Seskhona from marching in the high court as well as in the supreme court of appeal; they should instead go to the constitutional court because this matter is a matter of human rights,” added Majova.
He goes on to explain that the City is not delivering decent services to those living in informal settlements. Instead the organisation feels that the City is wasting taxpayer’s money, which he said could go to changing the lives of their people.
“Their attempts is failing to stop us, they are supposed to use that money to build toilets, build houses, to fix roads, potholes and fix up light in our communities, because the lack of these things are feeding the crime on the cape flats,” Majova added.
Smith said that the City will be looking at the damage caused which they will recover from the organization in a civil court.
“I have also ensured that we will be applying to ensure that they get no further permission to organise gatherings as that they have proven themselves to be irresponsible as well as unable to contain the gathering that they organise and to prevent them from becoming violent,” said Smith.
But Majova remains adamant and said that they are expecting more than 300 00 people to mobilise for their next march and said that every Capetonian must rally behind the group’s struggle.
But before any plans are carried out Majova said that the organisation will have to sit down and decide on a new date as they were hoping to embark on a march in April 2015.
“We haven’t agreed on how and when we are going to approach this march however we are going to decide and then call a press conference and there we will give details and logistics that will take place,” said Majova. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)