On Friday 20 November, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and their supporters gathered by the thousands near Brackenfell High School in Cape Town, Western Cape, purportedly to protest racism at the school.
The school first made headlines on 9 November, when the EFF protested alleged racism at the school, after accusations that the school had held an event attended only by white students and two teachers some weeks before. The school had cancelled its Matric farewell because of Covid-19 concerns and the event in question was a small private event. The Western Cape Department of Education had stated that the event was not school-sponsored and not department-sponsored.
A Brackenfell student stated to the press that the event was open to everyone and that those who chose not to attend did so because of Covid-19 concerns.
Despite the fact that it had not been established whether or not the charge of racism was true, the EFF organized the protest against the alleged racism and demanded the two teachers who attended the event be suspended.
EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego told eNCA at the protest that they wanted to meet with the school principal and governing body. When questioned about the weapons brought with to the protest, Xego answered that the weapons were “to protect the community”.
There were violent altercations between the EFF and Brackenfell community members. Some EFF protesters were injured and a Brackenfell community. member was arrested for shooting a type of airgun.
EFF’s Return Weeks Later
In preparation for the return to Brackenfell, the EFF released statements rallying their supporters. The statements, aside from protesting racism, assert lack of freedom and the fight for liberation.
One such tweet states: “White settlers, racist murderers invaded our country, massacred our people and took our land. It will never happen again. The EFF will always confront racism and racists. Today we are protesting against racism in Brackenfell. #EFFInBrackenfell”.
The EFF’s Deputy Secretary General Poppy Mailola said at the protest, that they are there “to confront the terrorist, racist community of Brackenfell, who have even taught their children how to be racist. Even the atmosphere here, you can see that it smells of racists, and the police as well are very much racists. As the members of the EFF, we are here to confront them toe to toe and take them head on”.
The Democratic Alliance condemned the rhetoric and threat of violence and called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to monitor the protests of the PAC to the Brackenfell train station and the EFF to Brackenfell High School on Friday, “as dangerous rhetoric regarding these protests already seems the order of the day for both these parties.”
The DA statement continued: “The EFF, on its official twitter account, stated that “[on] Friday we will descend and ensure that nothing operates”. This is a clear threat to intimidate and destabilise.
While the EFF is well-versed in incitement to violence, as seen with their Clicks protests and in Senekal earlier this year, the PAC has now also joined the band-wagon by making their protest slogan #OneSettlerOneBullet – a clear indication to their members to take up arms.”