Despite the chaos and looting that gripped the capital city during the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) march on Wednesday, the Tshwane mayor said the disruptions did not cause any strain between the DA and the EFF’s relationship at local level.
Solly Msimanga, dressed in blue overalls, got his hands dirty yesterday when he cleaned up the debris and filth left behind by the thousands of EFF protesters who shut down Pretoria.
Addressing the media at a grimy Church Square yesterday, Msimanga said he would not blame a particular political party for the mayhem caused in the city, but appealed to the public instead.
“We have seen footage of EFF members breaking [things] but I don’t want to really home in on one party. I want to ask members of the public why are they letting this happen. If someone throws a stone at a glass door, what are you doing about it? We need to be active citizens and do what is right,” he said.
Tshwane looked like a forgotten war zone yesterday with shops’ stock exposed, glass windows shattered, litter and debris scattered in the streets and traces of rocks and burnt tyres at various intersections.
The Paul Kruger statue, which was vandalised by EFF members last year, was briefly torched during the protests after a petrol bomb was hurled at the historic bronze piece. Voortrekker Monument managing director Cecilia Kruger said the bronze statues and granite pedestal were not damaged.
“The fence around the statues had been broken open, but the Heritage Foundation has heard that the mayor himself has undertaken to see to it that the place is cleaned up,” she said.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Sally de Beer said 28 arrests were made, with about 35 cases of malicious damage to property, public violence, burglary and assault opened.
A police captain was seriously injured when a bottle broke in his face, leaving him with a half-severed nose and the cortex to his eye damaged. He underwent surgery on Wednesday night.
Another officer injured his leg after he was pelted with stones.
“It is our contention that conveners of gatherings must be accountable for the actions of their supporters,” said De Beer. “Police are busy investigating Wednesday’s illegal gathering, the conduct of the crowd and alleged incitement from leaders,” she said.