The Citizen (KZN)
EFF vows to extend war on Clicks
WAR ON ADVERT: RULING AGAINST INTIMIDATING STAFF, CUSTOMERS
Despite a court interdict preventing its supporters from threatening staff, the party encourages ‘intensified’ protests.
Party ‘barred from unlawfully protesting, inciting violence against Click’s ordinary commercial operations’.
If the violent protest action which unfolded outside Clicks stores this week continues, those responsible could find themselves behind bars. The High Court in Pretoria yesterday interdicted the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and its supporters from threatening or intimidating staff and customers at any of the retailer’s more than 800 branches around the country, as well as inciting violence against Clicks’ “ordinary commercial operations”.
While the court stopped short of barring the party and its supporters from protesting altogether, legal expert Wesley Hayes said yesterday that it had barred them from unlawfully protesting.
“We all have a right to protest but we do not have a right to incite violence, intimidate or destroy the property of another person or legal entity,” he said.
He said any violent protest action that was to take place now would leave those behind it open to being held in contempt of court – adding that Clicks also had “recourse through the criminal courts against the perpetrators of the destruction of its stores as well as a civil case for damages”.
Yesterday’s interdict came on the back of a second urgent application brought by Clicks on Monday night after its first one was dismissed on a legal technicality on Monday morning.
The EFF has waged war on the retailer over an advert for a hair care product by Unilever’s
TRESemmé that surfaced on its website last week. The advert included images of black women’s hair accompanied by the words “dry and damaged” and “frizzy and dull” next to images of white women’s hair and the words “fine and flat” and “normal”.
Both Unilever and the retailer have since apologised and the advert has been pulled.
Yesterday’s interdict was issued on an interim basis, which Hayes explained meant it was not final.
“The matter goes back to court later this month, for the relief to be made final or, if the court decides it against Clicks, for the application to be dismissed,” he said.
In the meantime, the Democratic
Alliance (DA) in Port Elizabeth has laid criminal charges of incitement to commit violence, malicious injury to property and intimidation against the EFF and its commander-in-chief Julius Malema.
The EFF in response to the interdict yesterday denied having “engaged in any violence against employees, customers or commercial operations of Clicks”.
“We reject the infiltration of our protests by agents provocateurs who wish to tarnish the good name and reputation of the EFF,” the party said.
The party vowed to continue its protests, albeit peacefully.
“All members and ground forces of the EFF must intensify their efforts to ensure Clicks does not operate and this must be done through peaceful means,” it said.
Pieter du Toit, a law professor at the North West University, yesterday said the crime of incitement involved “influencing the mind of another to commit a crime”.
“And the state has to show the accused had the direct intention of influencing the mind of another to commit a crime,” he said.
Saps spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidu yesterday said the police were investigating a number of cases opened against the EFF and its supporters.
He encouraged members of the public who believed a crime had been committed or that their rights had been violated, to open a case at their local police station.
Police investigating a number of cases