AfriForum to lay charges against EFF leaders after H&M vandalism

15 January 2018 - 09:36
By Katharine Child
The Clearwater Mall H&M store after EFF members ransacked it over the racially offensive advert.
Image: Supplied The Clearwater Mall H&M store after EFF members ransacked it over the racially offensive advert.

No one has been arrested for trashing H&M stores across Gauteng on the weekend.

Gauteng provincial police spokesman Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said on Monday that police were investigating and would scrutinise CCTV footage from the affected shopping malls.

AfriForum deputy CEO Ernst Roets said on Monday that the union would lay criminal charges of incitement to public violence against Julius Malema‚ Floyd Shivambu‚ and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

People wearing EFF shirts vandalised H&M stores‚ knocking over mannequins‚ breaking mirrors and using male underwear as sling shots. Sandton City‚ Clearwater Mall‚ Menlyn Park and the East Rand Mall were targeted in Gauteng.

The EFF was protesting against an H&M advert in which a black child wore a tracksuit top with the words: "Coolest Monkey in the Jungle".

The advert has subsequently been removed and the hoodie withdrawn from shelves in UK stores‚ where it was on sale.

Terry Mango‚ the child’s mother who lives in Stockholm‚ Sweden‚ said in a Facebook post that the whole issue had been blown out of proportion.

"Stop crying wolf all the time‚ unnecessary issue here … get over it‚" she posted. She‚ in turn‚ received a barrage of attacks on social media. The Facebook post has since been deleted.

News of the stores being vandalised in South Africa reached a global audience and was carried in publications like the New York Times.

H&M closed its 17 South African stores in response and apologised for the offending advertisement.

Ndlozi said: "Every single racist institution will be visited by the red brigade to ensure there are consequences to any denigration of the black race! #EFFprotest against H&M is not the last one."

The EFF claimed that nothing was stolen during the protests.

The party tweeted: "What is left out in the entire public narrative on #EFFprotest against H&M anti-black racism is that Not Even A Single Item was Stolen or Looted by EFF Ground Forces. How much more peaceful and orderly can a protest be? #Asijiki" The protest led to divided opinion on Twitter‚ with many saying an economic boycott would be more effective than damaging the stores.

Some were livid. Celebrity Pearl Thusi tweeted that the vandalism had made South Africans look like savages. "So instead of fighting at their level you’re just going to vandalize stores and establishments? Spread violence and fear? Oh‚ ok. Just misrepresent us all as savages then."

Sihle Ngobese fired off a barrage of tweets suggesting that the behaviour made black people appear like victims.

"This #Social Justice Warrior narrative of ‘blacks are victims’‚ pushed by the #ANC & more often by the #EFF‚ is nonsense. Mina‚ I’m a proud Zulu...and we Zulus are made of warrior-stock! I’m not a victim‚ and I’m not insecure as to think I’m a ‘monkey’ either. My identity is complex but secure."

Former Radio 702 talk show host Redi Tlhabi‚ who said she had always quietly boycotted the store‚ pointed out to Ndlozi that black staff would clean up the mess left after the protests. Tlhabi said an economic boycott of the store would be more effective.