BLF men ‘whip’ DA marchers

Left­ist party has al­legedly car­ried out sev­eral at­tacks since July. PARTY PLANS TO LAY CHARGES

The Citizen (KZN) - - NEWS - Simnikiwe Hlat­sha­neni –simniki­weh@cit­i­

Rad­i­cal left­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion Black First Land First (BLF) mem­bers may face as­sault charges for al­legedly at­tack­ing pro­test­ers at a #Da­ta4All cam­paign march led by the Demo­cratic Al­liance (DA) in Jo­han­nes­burg yes­ter­day.

While BLF deputy pres­i­dent Zanele Lwana said they were look­ing into the in­ci­dent to as­cer­tain whether BLF mem­bers were in­volved, the DA said it would lay charges against the move­ment af­ter what they de­scribed as an at­tack on DA ac­tivists at Gandhi Square by “a group of in­tox­i­cated thugs wear­ing BLF re­galia”.

The party said: “The BLF cor­nered and at­tacked our ac­tivists us­ing whips and other weapons, then went fur­ther to slap one of our fe­male staff mem­bers who was record­ing the en­tire in­ci­dent.”

In July, BLF was in­volved in another al­leged al­ter­ca­tion at an Absa Bank branch dur­ing a protest. The bank ob­tained a court in­ter­dict­ing the move­ment from protest­ing or tres­pass­ing on any Absa-owned or con­trolled prop­erty and in­tim­i­dat­ing its staff or clients.

In a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent that month, amaBhun­gane in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Micah Reddy was al­legedly as­saulted by BLF mem­bers in Braam­fontein. In June, Busi­ness Day re­ported that its editor, Tim Co­hen, was as­saulted by BLF pro­test­ers out­side the Parkview home of Tiso Black­star’s editor-at-large, Peter Bruce.

Last month, a BLF re­gional sec­re­tary was hos­pi­talised af­ter a group of BLF mem­bers were in­volved in a scuf­fle with EFF mem­bers.

“With ev­ery pass­ing day un­der an ANC gov­ern­ment its sup­port­ers, like the BLF, show that South Africa is yearn­ing for a new be­gin­ning where free­doms and rights are up­held, de­fended and pro­tected,” the DA said yes­ter­day, adding it would not be be de­terred by “these thugs” in their fight for those “over­bur­dened by the ANC’s mis­man­age­ment of the coun­try”.

Pic­ture: Neil McCart­ney

PROTEST. DA Youth mem­bers ask peo­ple at Gandhi Square in Joburg to sign a pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing 500MB free data for stu­dents and job­seek­ers yes­ter­day.

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