Fifteen EFF supporters were allegedly shot with rubber bullets in the early hours of Monday on Retief Street, Pietermaritzburg.
EFF provincial secretary Nkululeko Ngubane said their members were shot at close range with rubber bullets by Magma Security.
Ngubane said the injured members were in Northdale Hospital.
Our members were peacefully marching and this private security company had no business in interfering and shooting at them. The police are the only ones responsible for public order and they haven’t done anything yet this security company decided to shoot at our members.
He said the involvement of the private security companies in the mass action was to undermine the police.
“White business people are deliberately undermining the police leadership. Most of these companies have deployed Indian and White guards mostly and we believe that the move is to ensure that brutal force is applied to our members who are part of the march,” he said.
EFF members protesting in Pietermaritzburg
Magma Security confirms shooting incident
Owner of Magma Security Shaheen Suleiman confirmed that their members fired rubber bullets at EFF members.
They were misbehaving and destroying pallets belonging to our clients on Retief Street. They were also starting to disturb the community and damage vehicles on the road.
Business as usual
Meanwhile, it was business as usual in Pietermaritzburg from morning to midday.
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Police and private security companies were all over the city guarding businesses.
At the traffic circle near the Liberty Mall, armed private security personnel (AET and Magma Security) were on guard.
In Retief Street, heavily armed AET security personnel were on guard while some were controlling access to businesses.
A security guard, who is not permitted to speak to the media, said even though it was quiet, they were not leaving matters to chance.
“It’s still early in the morning so anything is possible as the day progresses. We are keeping a close watch over the movements of individuals, especially those in political party regalia. We will be on guard through the night,” said the guard.
While security and police were visible, businesses have taken precautionary measures to safeguard their businesses.
A luxury car dealership near the mall removed its cars from the forecourt, while others kept their doors closed.
A group of EFF members marched towards Midlands Liberty Mall, stopping by the bridge. There were a number of armed private security companies and the police. They then marched back towards the city.
- Additional reporting by Chris Ndaliso