The leader of the controversial pressure group G@tvol Capetonian has accused the City of Cape Town of using “strong arm tactics” to silence the movement. Leader Fadiel Adams is facing criminal and civil charges after the #TotalShutdown protests organised for 8 August resulted in damage to public and private property and infringed on the constitutional rights of other citizens. While Adams claims that the City of Cape Town is merely trying to intimidate him and that there’s no warrant out for his arrest, the City’s Safety and Security directorate’s head JP Smith says that a criminal investigation is underway and that civil charges will be brought forward against Adams.
“There are two things happening at the moment: the one is the criminal investigation by the South African Police Service in terms of the incitement to violence charge, the charges laid by the City in relation to the public representatives that were defamed and crimen injuria charges…then there are civil charges we will file this week – as we have done before against other offenders,” said Smith.
“We strongly support the right to protest but we support protestors on the condition that they do not engage in any public violence nor deny communities the right of movement. That [movement] is nobody else’s decision to make. You do not get to arbitrarily decide to lock other people down – they have freedoms in terms of the constitution which you cannot arbitrarily deny. When that happened, it became impossible for the City to be supportive.”
Adams claims that the charges are part of a “smear campaign” against his organisation and that the City is trying to strong-arm the pressure group.
“I have no idea what’s going on. I have been threatened with arrest for the last five days. They know where I live and where to find me. If the charges were laid why am I still at my house? This is nothing but a smear campaign against me and my organisation and we will not stand for it. The intimidation isn’t working,” declared Adams.
“I’ve been charged with inciting a riot, intimidation and I don’t know what else. This is what they’re saying but I haven’t seen a charge sheet and I’ve been to a police station to hand myself over…they’re saying there’s no warrant out for me. This is the City trying strong-arm tactics on us.”
Adams has distanced himself and his group from the actions taken by violent and destructive protestors, saying that G@tvol Capetonian called for peaceful protests.
“We put the post up that we were going to have a peaceful protest…I said I wouldn’t tolerate any looting, stoning or burning of infrastructure.”
“When we were in Cape Town to hand over the memorandum – which the mayor didn’t want to collect – the young kids in Ocean View, the unruly mob I warned the City about in the press, started running around like mad. We don’t know what happened, they were uncontrollable,” said Adams.
It was revealed that G@tvol Capetonian failed to make the necessary applications to the City, prior to the protests.
According to the Regulation of Gatherings Act, parties wishing to engage in a protest must notify the relevant authorities within at least seven calendar days before the protest. Where such notification is not possible, however, you need to provide justification as to why the notification of the protest is late.
The minimum notice needed before a protest can be conducted is 48 hours. When the minimum 48 hours’ notice is not given, the protest concerned can be banned without a reason being provided by the City.
“We didn’t [do the necessary application]. We do not need to apply to protest – it is our constitutional right to protest,” said a defiant Adams.
“Why are they focusing on the damage and not on the issues which brought us out onto the streets? Why are they not talking about that? I’m not afraid of JP Smith and I’m not afraid of the City of Cape Town.”
“On the 29th of this month we will do it again – whether I’m in jail or whether I’m in the streets. Whatever happens, today or tomorrow, this fight will continue. We will lockdown as much as we have to. I apologise to the hardworking South African middle class…but remember: there will be more job cuts. Any of you could soon become poor – we fight this fight for your children as well. There is no way out of this.”
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