Malema to ‘respond accordingly’ to Phoenix ‘attacks’
The EFF's leader said they would not be taking advice from their enemies on how to fight them.
EFF secretary-general Marshall Dlamini addresses the EFF crowd marching in Phoenix, KZN. Picture: EFF
The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were marching on Thursday to Phoenix, north Durban, in what was billed as a peaceful demonstration seeking justice for the victims of the unrest that engulfed the area last month and saw 36 deaths.
The demonstration was organised by the EFF’s eThekwini region amid concerns that it might fuel racial tensions between Zulus and the predominantly Indian community who were at loggerheads during the rampant violence and looting that rocked parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
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DA leader John Steenhuisen warned this week that the march risked descending into a full-blown race war after the EFF promoted the march on its social media platforms as a protest “against racist Indians”.
Malema has often courted criticism for statement in the past that have described Indians as racist.
“The EFF thrives on racial division, and so it is very much in the party’s interest to fan the flames of localised incidents of racial tension where they exist. This is the very last thing the traumatised communities of Phoenix need right now,” Steenhuisen said in a letter addressed to the SAHRC’s chair, advocate Bongani Majola.
The EFF’s provincial leaders had on Wednesday met with church and community leaders in the area to iron out issues related to the protest and resolved to rather embark on a solidarity march.
The EFF’s eThekwini region spokesperson, Mazwi Blose, told SAfm on Wednesday morning their march would begin at Gandhi Park in Durban at 10am and proceed to the local police station in Phoenix, where they would hand over a memorandum of demands.
Blose said they would demand the immediate arrests of the people behind the killings and the confiscation of illegal firearms in Phoenix.
“What we are hoping to achieve is to ensure that we remind the police of their constitutional mandate and their constitutional duty. They are there to protect the citizens of the country. We are there to tell the police to go to Phoenix and repossess all these illegal firearms,” he said.
“Our march is regulated in terms of numbers of protestors and Covid-19 regulations. We have spoken to the security cluster, the police, and all law enforcement to ensure the march is free, peaceful and there is no violence,” Blose said.
On Tuesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed that, of the 36 people killed in Phoenix, 30 were shot dead.
“Two were burnt to death. One was stabbed and another was run over by a motor vehicle. Two others died from the brutal injuries they sustained after being assaulted,” Cele said at a media briefing at Inanda police station.
He said 20 people were arrested in connection with the murders in the community.
Police are also investigating 52 cases of attempted murder and nine of common assault, as well as 16 cases of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The EFF had called for bail to be denied to the alleged perpetrators. The have also called Cele a “sellout”.
EFF leader Julius Malema on Thursday pinned a tweet to his timeline that “an attack on any fighter in Phoenix is an attack on all of us in South Africa and we will respond accordingly”.