On Tuesday, police fired rubber bullets on a march by Mooiplaas residents and the EFF to demand proper housing, water and sanitation, among others, which had been declared an “illegal”gathering.
EFF national spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said yesterday that the police always act on a mandate, but that at times they were later abandoned by their masters.
But Gauteng police spokesman, Brigadier Neville Malila, denied the EFF’s claims.
“Why should we act on the instruction of political masters? Who are these political masters?” he asked.
“The organisers of the march were told on Saturday that the march can’t take place because there is no application. I fail to understand why they say we acted on the instruction of political masters. They were informed that the march was illegal. They did not want to disperse and became rowdy,” he said.
Independent political analyst Ralph Mathekga said it was not surprising that the EFF holds the view that it is being targeted.
“In the past there were confrontations between EFF members and security officials at Unisa (University of SA) when security officials tried to block EFF’s gathering,” he said.
“EFF is raising this in the framework of the understanding that there is tension between them and the ANC. Because of that, they will view the behaviour of the police critically.”
Dr Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies said the police would only use teargas or rubber bullets if a gathering was illegal or if it turned violent.
“There is no way that police can use live ammunition unless their lives are threatened. In protests police can use teargas or rubber bullets in prescribed methods when other methods, such as using a loud-speaker to disperse the crowd, have failed,” he said.
Nevertheless, Ndlozi was adamant that police had a “shoot to kill” order and were targeting political “activists”.
“Under the instructions of their political masters, they suppress public dissent, and they do so through ‘the shoot to kill’ mentality. EFF will not accept this unlawfulness of the police and their suppression of basic rights.”
EFF members are expected to paint the streets of Pretoria red today on their way to the Union Buildings to hand over a memorandum of grievances.
“We are continuing a march which was disrupted by police. We will also not be deterred from pursuing the African revolution; we will stand with our people and express our disapproval of the government of the day.
“We have a court order that says we should march and we should not be disrupted,” he said.
Ndlozi also took a swipe at the ANC government, saying it enriched itself to the detriment of the populace.