AFRICANGLOBE – South African police have refused to allow anti-xenophobia protesters to hand over their memorandum to the country’s president, turning the marchers away at the gates of the Union Buildings.
Organisers of Thursday’s march were in talks with the police to get recognition from the office of the president.
The peaceful protesters became agitated when police brigadier Mokhari told them they did not have permission to march to the Union Buildings. Mokhari was speaking from behind a mesh fence at the south gardens of the Union Buildings.
Prince Mpinda from the Democratic Republic of Congo said xenophobic violence was not being taken seriously by the government.
“It is very unfortunate and irresponsible for the government to refuse to take a memorandum. Let the world know by the South African government refusing to let these peaceful foreigners and loving South Africans who are in solidarity saying no to xenophobia…The message is clear, the person who is shooting is the person behind the trigger.
“It’s clear South African government is behind this xenophobia.”
Mpinda said it was confusing why the Presidency would not allow protesters to hand over their memorandum, but had allowed a march against foreigners to continue on February 24.
The organisers denied that their march had not been granted permission. They said they had initially been denied permission, but were later granted it by the Tshwane metro police and SAPS.
Themba Ncalo said they had round table meetings with the police who granted them permission to march.
“The police and the metro police don’t have a problem with us. It’s the office of the president which is refusing to come and receive the memorandum… The office of the president says the metro police should have demanded a letter granting us permission.
“It has got nothing to do with us. What we want is just to hand over the memorandum.”
Ncalo said they had adhered to the law and marched peacefully. “As we are here, we are within the framework of the Gatherings Act.”
“On February 24th, the hooligans marched and they gave them permission. We just want acknowledgement.”