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Pretoria gears up for Million Man March

Organisers of Tuesday’s planned Million Man March in Pretoria hope criminals will get the message that the country is united against them, a spokesperson said on Monday.

”We are expecting a lot of people. We have received messages from people saying they are coming. It does not matter if we don’t get one million people,” said Lydia Moleele.

”Even if we get 400 000, it means that 400 000 people will be able to make a stand to say ‘enough is enough’ and that we are uniting together against this monster [crime].

”People of all races, children, businessmen … we want to show them [criminals] that we can give them a shake.”

Comedian and actor Desmond Dube was inspired to arrange the event after a neighbour, Bashimane Mofokeng, was killed in a hijacking.

Moleele said people would gather at the gardens of the Union Buildings, and streets surrounding the buildings would be closed to cater for the overflow.

The Pretoria showgrounds and the Loftus rugby ground had been set aside for parking for people who didn’t want to travel into the city. Transport to the Union Buildings, at a nominal fee, would be available, she said.

Dube himself was not immediately available to comment. According to the website www.millionmanmarch.co.za, people could start gathering from 6am and there would be a symbolic walk at 11.50am, with the main event set for noon to 1pm.

It was open to anyone, including women, with the name simply being taken from previous civil rights marches held globally.

The website described it as a gathering at the buildings, and not a march.

Metro police spokesperson Alta Fourie said the organisers had been granted permission to hold the event from 5am to 6pm.

Certain intersections along Vermeulen, Church, Soutpansberg, Skinner, Nelson Mandela and Hamilton streets in the city would be traffic free to allow people to walk to the buildings.

The suburbs affected are Brooklyn, Sunnyside, Hatfield and Arcadia.

About 250 metro police officers would be in attendance, along with the South African Police Service. According to the organisers, the following would not be allowed: firearms, traditional weapons, hate-speech signs, alcohol and littering.

Uniformed law-enforcement officers would not be allowed to participate in the march.

Politicians who have said they would attend included Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille and United Democratic Movement (UDM) leader Bantu Holomisa.

”The UDM views this march as part of bolstering the efforts to combat crime in South Africa,” said Holomisa.

During the event the organisers planned to hand a memorandum to the Presidency.

Moleele said they had been told that someone would be present to receive it, but for security reasons had not been told who. — Sapa

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