South Africa, Cape Town — The City of Cape Town convened an urgent meeting with the SAPS and other law enforcement authorities on Thursday morning in terms of Section 5 of the Regulation of Gatherings Act.
The City said that the meeting was convened pursuant to the receipt of a sworn affidavit from education authorities expressing concerns of violence and intimidation related to the EFF’s protest.
The police have assured the City of Cape Town that they will be able to contain any threat at the EFF’s planned protest near Brackenfell High School on Friday.
SAPS, having considered the Western Cape Education Department’s (WCED) submission, have confirmed that police will be able to contain any threat arising from the EFF protest.
“Given this confirmation by SAPS that any and all threats can be contained, the law provides no legal basis for the march to be prohibited. However, should any condition be breached by the EFF, inclusive of Covid-19 lockdown regulations, the SAPS is required to act, which may include possible criminal sanction,” the City said.
The Western Cape High Court recently refused to grant an urgent interdict against the protest, with Judge Siraj Desai accepting the EFF’s undertaking that there will be no violence or disruption.
The Constitutional Court, in 2018 further declared aspects of the Regulation of Gatherings Act unconstitutional, effectively precluding municipalities from having the authority to approve or refuse gatherings, protests or marches.
The City said police had committed to a high policing presence in the Brackenfell area on Friday.
“A comprehensive operational plan has been settled between SAPS, Metro Police, Law Enforcement and Traffic along with the relevant Community Policing Forums (CPFs) and Neighbourhood Watches (NHW).
“SAPS’ Public Order Policing plan includes the setting of perimeters around the school and crowd management to protect learners, teachers and school property,” the City said.
“The perimeter will assist in terms of avoiding unnecessary conflict and to ensure that only the number of people authorised to participate in the protest are allowed to hand over a memorandum,” the City said.
“As with other large protests, the SAPS and metro police video units will be present to record the events and incidents, to assist SAPS in the prosecutions of any persons involved in public violence.”
The City again reiterated calls for the public to avoid the area to make it easier for the police to manage the protest.
“It is critical that there are no attempts at escalating conflict by any protesters, residents or groupings. Parents are asked to adhere to requests communicated by the school pertaining to safety arrangements for Friday.
“Community NHW and CPF structures have been invited to play a constructive role in incident command on the day, which will be co-ordinated via a mobile joint operations centre.”
Any resident wishing to report emergencies that may arise during the protest can alert the City Emergency Communications Centre on 107 from a landline or 021 4807700 from a cellphone.