The civil rights organization AfriForum today appealed to Genl. Police Minister Bheki Cele to take action against offenders who vandalized and damaged Clicks stores nationwide on Monday. AfriForum further pointed out that the police have failed in their duty to protect the citizenry against those persons who think that they can violate the country’s laws without any consequences.
This follows after a racial riot was unleashed due to a controversial Clicks ad. Several EFF leaders encouraged their followers to “attack” this chain store.
“Julius Malema and other EFF leaders’ public calls for violence should have placed the SAPS on a state of readiness to prevent the type of action we have seen today. Yet it seems that no person has yet been arrested whose crimes have clearly been captured on footage, ”said Marnus Kamfer, Legal and Risk Manager at AfriForum.
According to Kamfer, the lawless actions of the EFF and their followers and the inability of the SAPS to prevent it or to hold accountable culprits are once again proof that communities need to organize and secure themselves. “Communities and people can and must protect themselves within the framework of the law. Today’s events are only underlined once again. “
The business group Sakeliga also called on the National Commissioner of Police to take firm action against threats and violence by the EFF and its supporters in the current Clicks affair. As found by the constitutional court, the SAPS is obliged under constitutional and international law to prevent violence.
In light of the EFF’s attempt to incite violence under the guise of freedom of speech, Sakeliga assisted the constitutional court earlier this year as amicus curiae. Judgment in the case is still pending, but promises to have significant consequences for the ability of law enforcers to act against criminal incitement.
“There is a difference between freedom of speech and peaceful demonstrations on the one hand and incitement and violence on the other. The EFF has obviously crossed this dividing line “, says Piet le Roux, CEO of Business League. “As soon as a protester or party commits incitement or threats of violence – or further violence ranging from obstruction of customers ‘and employees’ access to shops or the destruction of property and bodily harm – the protester or party does not act peacefully, but criminally. ”
Le Roux said in contrast to the EFF and Julius Malema, who wanted to advocate the incitement of criminal activity in the case of land occupation as free speech, Sakeliga argued in the constitutional court in favor of law enforcers’ ability to act against incitement.
“Incitement to commit crimes is not, as Malema believes, something that should be protected as free speech. It would not be acceptable for a political party – or any other organization – to be allowed to act criminally by inciting intimidation and other forms of violence against property and person. It will greatly complicate the work of the government and the SAPS if the EFF is allowed to set a precedent that it can ‘close’ businesses or instruct its structures and supporters – as if it has its own judicial, legislative and executive power – to apply their decisions, policies and rulings to businesses and the general public. ”