The Democratic Alliance (DA) has requested Minister of Police Bheki Cele to intervene after the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) threatened to enforce the shutdown of businesses during the 21-day lockdown, including South African Breweries (SAB).
A video has already done the rounds of EFF members trying to enforce their measures in Cape Town, which you can watch below.
“The DA has noted with concern the EFF’s threats to shut down companies and “pay them a special visit” during the lockdown,” said DA MP shadow minister of police Andrew Whitfield in a statement on Friday.
The EFF took to social media on Thursday to threaten and intimidate businesses who they believe were not essential services or who they believe had inflated prices.
Whitfield said that the EFF was known for its violent behaviour and urged the South African Police Service (SAPS) to “move swiftly to prevent any violence against businesses and their employees at the hands of the EFF’s rogue command”.
He said the police, along with the deployed soldiers during the lockdown, were required to enforce regulations and that the EFF had no authority to do as they pleased.
“The SAPS, with the support of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), are the only institutions mandated to enforce the regulations relating to the lockdown.
“The EFF has no authority to enforce any regulations or laws and their reckless behaviour during a time of national uncertainty is grossly irresponsible,” the MP said.
Whitfield further said he would write to Cele to request him to stop the EFF if they continued.
“I will be writing to Minister Bheki Cele to inform him of these threats and request that SAPS take control of the situation to prevent any illegal behaviour at the hands of the EFF,” he concluded.
The EFF in Cape Town carried out their promise, forcing businesses to shut down during the lockdown.
A video posted on Twitter demonstrated alleged EFF members trying to shut down some offices in Cape Town, which resulted in a fight with the employees and security guards.
Online retailer Takealot has subsequently clarified that the incident depicted on Twitter did not happen at a pick-up point.
In a statement the company said it took place in Takealot’s main building, but it was on a floor occupied by a completely different company that was in no way linked to Takealot.
“None of the employees in the video were Takealot employees.”
@EFF_Cape_Metro is not here to play. Workers called on EFF to intervene. Safety before profit for our workers. Today at @TAKEALOT #21daylockdown #CoronavirusInSA @EFFSouthAfrica pic.twitter.com/i6j5Fk66Do
— Aishah Cassiem (@CassiemAishah) March 26, 2020
They added: “At Takealot, our first priority is the health and safety of our staff. All Takealot employees who work at the Takealot Central office are based at home for the duration of the lockdown. This includes our full Customer Service team who are all working remotely. For those involved in the provision of our limited service during lockdown, the company is following the strictest protocols as outlined by the South African Government and WHO. These include widespread access to hand sanitiser, increased frequency of cleaning of all workspaces, warehouses, branches as well as temperature testing of Takealot Delivery Team drivers and warehouse staff.”
They provided a full breakdown of their enhanced hygiene measures.