Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni
Premium Journalist
1 minute read
13 Oct 2017
5:01 am

Men in BLF regalia ‘whip’ DA marchers

Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni

The party says it will lay charges against the movement after what they described as an attack on DA activists at Ghandi Square.

Members of the DA Youth were at Ghandi Square getting students to sign a petition to get a 500mb free data for students and jobseekers, 12 October 2017. They say that the cost of data is to high for many young South Africans and that a free 500mb will help students with their studies and jobseekers search for work.Picture: Neil McCartney

Radical leftist organisation Black First Land First (BLF) members may face assault charges for allegedly attacking protesters at a #Data4All campaign march led by the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Johannesburg yesterday.

While BLF deputy president Zanele Lwana said they were looking into the incident to ascertain whether BLF members were involved, the DA said it would lay charges against the movement after what they described as an attack on DA activists at Ghandi Square by “a group of intoxicated thugs wearing BLF regalia”.

The party said: “The BLF cornered and attacked our activists using whips and other weapons, then went further to slap one of our female staff members who was recording the entire incident.”

In July, BLF was involved in another alleged altercation at an Absa Bank branch during a protest.

The bank obtained a court order interdicting the movement from protesting or trespassing on any Absa-owned or controlled property and intimidating its staff or clients.

In a separate incident that month, amaBhungane investigative journalist Micah Reddy was allegedly assaulted by BLF members in Braamfontein.

In June, Business Day reported that its editor, Tim Cohen, was assaulted by BLF protesters outside the Parkview home of Tiso Blackstar’s editor-at-large, Peter Bruce.

Last month, a BLF regional secretary was hospitalised after a group of BLF members were involved in a scuffle with EFF members.

“With every passing day under an ANC government its supporters, like the BLF, show that South Africa is yearning for a new beginning where freedoms and rights are upheld, defended and protected,” the DA said yesterday, adding it would not be be deterred by “these thugs” in their fight for those “overburdened by the ANC’s mismanagement of the country”.