The Democratic Alliance has set a legal challenge on Sunday against a police decision denying the opposition party permission to march to the African National Congress’s headquarters on Tuesday, reports News24.
Spokesperson for the Johannesburg metro police, Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar, stated the DA’s protest march request had been denied “on the grounds that there would be a security risk to protestors.”
Tuesday would have held the DA’s march to the ANC’s Luthuli House in central Johannesburg. The march would have been part of the opposition party’s “fight for jobs”.
James Selfe, the DA federal council chair, relayed that the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court has been approached by the party’s lawyers in order to amend the metro police’s decision, arguing on the basis of the Regulation of Gatherings Act.
Selfe reported that the court application began on Sunday at 10:00 but was postponed to 13:00 in order to allow the police an opportunity to file an opposing affidavit. He also voiced his concerns that the public’s constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression were at stake.
The DA will decide on whether to raise the matter to the high court based on the magistrate’s ruling.
In response to the matter, on Sunday, the ANC’s Jackson Mthembu stated the police’s decision to reject the march confirms the ANC’s opinion that the opposition party’s “intended invasion of Luthuli House was ill-advised, ill-informed and risky.”
Mthembu said the ruling party is open to engagements with the public, including the DA, on the issues relayed in the ANC’s manifesto.
“Such an engagement may indeed prove fruitful to the DA in order to mask their lack of clear policy positions on the economy and other areas of socio-economic endeavour.”
“We would have welcomed the opportunity to educate the DA that successive ANC governments have turned around a collapsing and nearly bankrupt economy in 1994 into a thriving one with growth rates averaging 3.6% annually consistently over the last two decades,” said Mthembu.
He reminded the DA of the incident that occurred two years ago where Cosatu members threw stones and other projectiles at DA as the party marched to the Joburg Theatre just 50 metres from the trade union federation’s office, forcing riot police to intervene.
Mthembu urged the DA to reconsider its march as the ANC would not want to be placed in a similar position.