Brackenfell protests: EFF slams DA for comparing it to Nazis

11 November 2020 - 09:45 By cebelihle bhengu
A violent confrontation erupted between EFF supporters and parents and residents outside Brackenfell High in Cape Town on Monday.
A violent confrontation erupted between EFF supporters and parents and residents outside Brackenfell High in Cape Town on Monday.
Image: Esa Alexander

The EFF on Tuesday condemned remarks made by the DA when it likened the red berets to “the Nazis”.

This after EFF supporters went to Brackenfell High in Cape Town on Monday to protest against alleged racism at the school.

Last week, the Sunday Times Daily reported that racial tensions broke out at the school after some parents hosted a private matric ball attended exclusively by white pupils and two teachers from the school. The EFF demanded the firing of the two teachers.

The provincial education department told TimesLIVE this week that the school should not be held responsible for the event as it had been organised by parents. The school had cancelled its official matric ball because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In videos shared online, EFF protesters were confronted by angry parents and residents which led to violent confrontations and the arrest of at least one person.

The DA on Monday said political parties should not infringe on the rights of citizens by involving themselves in private matters. It said while the violent events were unfortunate, law enforcement should have disbursed the “unlawful” protest.

“If we are to prevent people from taking the law into their own hands, the police must do their job properly. It was the job of the police to prevent and disperse the EFF [which was] unlawfully gathering outside a school and seeking to infringe on the rights of private citizens. The Nazis had the brown shirts that went around terrorising minorities. SA has the red shirts,” said the DA.

In a statement on Tuesday, the EFF slammed the comparison.

“In the DA's desperation for relevance and a desire to capture its lost white voter base, they cheapen the memory of Kristallnacht and the painful memory of the Holocaust. The DA does this to stoke swart gevaar (black danger) and to paint black people as a threat. It is an illogical comparison that spits on the memory of one of humanity's most painful eras,” it said.

The party also criticised the timing of the DA's statement, which coincided with the anniversary of the Kristallnacht, a violent genocidal riot against Jews which occurred on November 9 and 10 in 1938.

The DA received criticism on social media, with many slamming the statement as historically incorrect.

Former DA leader Tony Leon responded to the Brackenfell events and backlash over the comparison.

In an opinion piece published by the Sunday Times Daily, he conceded that using the label “Nazi” to describe “other strains of authoritarianism is usually intellectually lazy and historically inaccurate shorthand”, but blamed leaders of the ruling party for earlier using the comparison.

He quoted former ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who in 2014 compared the red berets to Nazis after clashes at the Gauteng legislature over the EFF's red overalls. Leon also cited ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, who in the same year said the second Israeli invasion of Gaza was comparable to Nazi crimes.

The Times of Israel was critical of Duarte and the statement, which has since been removed from the ANC's website.


LISTEN | Plea for dialogue as Ramaphosa denounces violence at Brackenfell school

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