Anti-xenophobia march illegal: Metro police

09 March 2017 - 16:50 By Sipho Mabena
#Anti-xenophobia march headed to #UnionBuildings.
#Anti-xenophobia march headed to #UnionBuildings.
Image: ECR_Newswatch‏ via Twitter

The Tshwane metro police department did not approve the anti-xenophobia march in Pretoria on Thursday‚ saying the organisers failed to meet the necessary requirements.

Spokesperson Isaac Mahamba said the organisers‚ the Coalition of Civics against Xenophobia‚ failed to furnish the department with a letter from the person to whom they would hand the memorandum.

He said on this basis‚ the application for the march was declined.

“For a march to be approved‚ the organisers must obtain a letter from the person who will accept their memorandum stating when... that person will be available to accept the memorandum. They did not have that so we could not approve the march‚” he said.

  • Dismay and anger from anti-xenophobia marchers over Presidency's refusal to accept memorandumOrganisers of the Pretoria anti-xenophobia march have expressed shock and dismay at the Presidency's alleged refusal to accept their memorandum‚ branding government and president Jacob Zuma xenophobic.

Mahamba said this was why there was no one to receive their memorandum at the Union Building‚ the very situation the by-laws aimed to prevent in the first place.

He said the organisers ended up “handing over the memorandum and reading it to themselves. They have now dispersed”.

  • Protesters want government to make xenophobia foreignProtesters are taking a stand against xenophobia and want government to step in to make hatred of foreigners a thing of the past. 

Mahamba said after they had declined the application for the march‚ the organisers went to court to challenge the dismissal of their application to march but they lost the case.

“They still gathered so we opened a case of illegal gathering. We then kept watch to ensure that people who were not participating in the march were not affected. This was to ensure that should anything happen‚ the organisers would have been held responsible‚” he said.

The group of about 200 people first gathering at the Burghers Park in the CBD before heading to the Union Buildings in Arcadia to hand over their memorandum.

In their memorandum read at Union Buildings lawns‚ the coalition demands an investigation into and prosecution of Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba for inciting violence in his anti-immigrant utterances and decried what they referred to as government's poor response to xenophobic violence.

The coalition‚ made up of both locals and immigrants under the auspices of the Lawyers for Human Rights‚ also wants measures in place for government to take serious the investigations of attacks on foreign nationals and their businesses as well as a campaign to tackle corruption within the police.

According to the coalition‚ issues of unemployment‚ housing and crime are central to the xenophobic sentiments as locals blame immigrants for their unfortunate economic and social situations and these need to be addressed urgently to prevent further flare ups.

The coalition wants government to convene an urgent meeting with President Jacob Zuma‚ which would involve all relevant government role players‚ including Tshwane and Johannesburg authorities‚ within fourteen day.

- TMG Digital/The Times

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