EFF protest in Brackenfell turns violent

More than 2 000 EFF protesters marched down Paradys Street, Brackenfell

A 39-year-old Brackenfell resident who was assaulted by members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) is among those who were arrested after today’s protest turned violent.

The City of Cape Town had granted a permit on Tuesday November 17 for 100 EFF members to march and hand over a memorandum to Brackenfell High School, following an uproar over a private matric event where only white pupils and two teachers were present.

However, more than 2 000 protesters had marched through Paradys Street in Brackenfell since 8am.

Eight protesters were also arrested for public violence, said provincial police spokesman, Captain FC van Wyk.

The Brackenfell man, who has been charged with incitement, moved through the crowd to speak to EFF secretary and spokesperson, Marshall Dlamini.

Mr Dlamini asked him, “What is your problem?”

EFF members then began hitting and kicking the man who was dressed in cycling gear.

Police intervened by using stun grenades.

With blood dripping down the side of his face, the man shouted, “God, why me? I didn’t come here to fight.”

The EFF is giving the school seven days to dismiss the two teachers who attended the private event.

Mr Dlamini said the school’s principal will have to meet with EFF members before next Friday.

The protest turned violent early in the day when Mr Dlamini negotiated with the police about the number of protesters who could march to the school gates.

Only 500 were to be allowed but the crowd that stayed behind then tried pushing passed riot police to get beyond the barricade surrounding the school.

Police retaliated by using tear gas, stun grenades and water canons to disperse the crowd.

Mr Dlamini said it was impossible for only 100 people to protest.

The Cape Party was also present to support pupils but was asked to leave because they were gathering illegally without a permit.

Chairperson of the school governing body (SGB), Dr Guillaume Smit said matrics wrote their physical science paper 1 in peace as protesters were blocked off by the barbed wire barricades.

Captain Van Wyk said several law enforcement officers, police and the windows of businesses had been pelted with stones.

Western Cape Education Department spokeswoman Bronagh Hammond said the teachers who attended the private event could not be dismissed as there were no grounds for this.