By Theolin Tembo, Marvin Charles
Cape Town: Bonginkosi Madikizela, the DA leader in the Western Cape, has said that he is sticking to his remarks where he compared the EFF with Nazi brown shirts following the party’s clash with residents in Brackenfell.
The DA faced criticism on social media for comparing the comment in a statement on Monday in which they condemned the incident.
The EFF, which also protested on Friday, demanded two teachers and the principal be fired after the teachers had attended a private matric function that was only attended by white pupils and their parents.
A violent clash occurred with Brackenfell residents which lead to the arrest of a 39-year-man who opened fire. Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said: “A 39-year-old suspect was arrested and taken into custody after he fired several shots during a protest gathering.”
The suspect, who was recorded firing three shots into the air while standing in the middle of a volatile crowd, said he had seen firing his 9mm imitation firearm as the only way to disperse the group of EFF members who had begun throwing stones and sticks at a crowd of residents.
The DA later lashed out in a statement on Monday evening stating that private events have “absolutely nothing to do with any political party”.
“Violent confrontations will do nothing to advance rational analysis, which is more needed in South Africa today than ever before.
“If we are to prevent people taking the law into their own hands, the police must do their job properly. It was the job of SAPS to prevent and disperse the EFF unlawfully gathering outside a school and seeking to infringe on the rights of private citizens.
“The Nazis had the brown shirts that went around terrorising minorities. South Africa has the red shirts,” the party said.
It was this last sentence of the DA statement which caused a lot of frustration on Twitter, especially as the party made the remarks on the anniversary of Kristallnacht.
Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass, was when the brown shirts brutally attacked Jewish people and Jewish-owned stores, buildings and synagogues.
Twitter users were quick to let the party know that it had gone too far in comparing the political party to Sturmabteilung, also called the brown shirts, who were Nazi Party militia that helped Adolf Hitler.
Madikizela, who wrote the statement said that he stands by his remarks of comparing the party to Nazi militia.
“I am sticking to my comments, I am practising my constitutional right of freedom of expression.
“When white people comment about apartheid, I don’t tell them that I as a black person have monopoly on what to say as just because they are white.
“I mean we are are living in a constitutional democracy, so you don’t tell me how to express my anger, just because you disagree with me. So you might have a different view, but don’t impose your view on me.
“They had no business disturbing the kids who are writing matric, because of a trivial issue. On Sunday, I had lunch with 40 people, not a single white person was there, now should I expect a march from Freedom Front Plus?”
As for the the violence that was witnessed, Madikizela reiterated that the party does not condone it.
“It is very unfortunate and, of course, we don’t condone violence, no matter how much people are feeling provoked. I think we must squarely lay the blame at the door of the EFF.
“This organisation is known for protesting and using violence when they do so, so unfortunately, you can’t use the word peaceful and EFF in the same sentence.”
The EFF has vowed to descend on Brackenfell, and in a statement said: “All those white racists who have an uncontrollable desire to control the movement of Black people, and dictate where we can and cannot go, will be taught the humility we taught racists in Senekal.
“They have pushed us, and they must prepare to be pushed back harder.“
The party is expected to protest on Friday again, and Madikizela said police must remain on guard.
“The police must be vigilant, and be on standby to avoid what happened yesterday, because we know that the EFF protests are characterised by thuggery and violence.”