SAPS confirms they will be able to contain any threat arising from EFF protest in Brackenfell
19 November 2020
The City of Cape Town this morning convened an urgent meeting with the South African Police Services (SAPS) and other law enforcement authorities in terms of Section 5 of the Regulation of Gatherings Act. 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 planned protest in Brackenfell on Friday.
The South African Police Services (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 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, has 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 SAPS have committed to a high policing presence in the Brackenfell area on Friday, reporting that 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 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.
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 of Cape Town calls on the public to avoid the area to make it easier for SAPS to manage the planned protest effectively.
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 coordinated via a mobile joint operations centre (JOC).
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.
Issued by City of Cape Town, 19 November 2020