Clamp down on intimidation

It is not surprising to see the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) invoking the "third force" and "agents provocateurs" on which to place the blame for the damage caused to Clicks stores around the country during the "hair racism" protests. That's because the courts – after initially turning down an urgent interdict by Clicks on Monday – yesterday granted an order restraining the EFF and it supporters from intimidating Clicks staff and customers, or preventing the company from doing business. Yet, despite the order, there was plenty of video evidence on social media of EFF members and officials doing more than...
It is not surprising to see the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) invoking the "third force" and "agents provocateurs" on which to place the blame for the damage caused to Clicks stores around the country during the "hair racism" protests.

That's because the courts – after initially turning down an urgent interdict by Clicks on Monday – yesterday granted an order restraining the EFF and it supporters from intimidating Clicks staff and customers, or preventing the company from doing business.

Yet, despite the order, there was plenty of video evidence on social media of EFF members and officials doing more than merely standing in picket lines outside Clicks shops.

In some cases, they chased away customers and in others, vowed to keep stores closed. This is conduct which is, prima facie, contempt of the court interdict … so it remains to be seen whether any action will be taken against them or their leader, Julius Malema, who used the word "attack" when calling on his supporters to besiege Clicks operations.

The interdict will be a key test case of the right to protest – and how the law enforcement authorities and courts interpret the word "peaceful". If there is intimidation, it must be clamped down on. The rule of law must be upheld.

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