Gatvol Capetonians, EFF lash out at City of Cape Town for seeking damage claims of R1.4m

Gatvol Capetonians and the Economic Freedom Fighters are apparently undaunted by the City of Cape Town’s damages claims after violent protests, allegedly by the activist group and the party in 2019 and 2020 respectively, left public infrastructure damaged.

Mayor Dan Plato announced on Monday that the city would go ahead with civil claims against Gatvol Capetonian and the EFF, totalling R1.4-million. 

Gatvol Capetonians said the Democratic Alliance-led city’s attempts were an “apartheid-era tactic”, and the EFF said the city should “bring it on”. 

After receiving a hefty summons of R1.3-million, Fadiel Adams, the spokesperson for Gatvol Capetonians/Cape Coloured Congress, said: “It is the apartheid-era tactic of using taxpayers’ money to fight election battles. 

“What happens is we have a three-year-old allegation that’s just conveniently nine days before by-elections. We won’t stand for it. There is no basis for prosecution. This is malicious prosecution on behalf of the City of Cape Town,” said Adams.  

Gatvol Capetonians received a summons on 29 March for more than R1.3-million in damages relating to the closure of major routes around Cape Town in August 2019. Damages were recorded in several areas of the city, including the city centre, Bo-Kaap, Grassy Park and Kommetjie. 

“Destroying infrastructure is not an acceptable form of protest, nor is shutting down major routes and disrupting the lives of law-abiding residents,” said Plato.

Adams argues the reason behind the protests can not be ignored. 

“It was because of the overlooking [of] the marginalised pensioners on the housing waiting list. Instead, it becomes a security issue,” he said. “The vandalism that happened on the day had nothing to do with Gatvol Capetonians. We called for a peaceful protest. And every one of our members was peaceful and disciplined.”

The city has also issued a letter of demand to the EFF. The letter stipulates the payment of R87 312.25 within 21 days or the party will “face a summons, which will also include a claim for legal costs to recover the funds, plus interest”, according to a statement released by the city. 

In this case, the city refers to damage in Brackenfell on 20 November last year when EFF protestors allegedly damaged traffic lights and public vehicles. 

According to Plato, the claims are intended to “[hold] groupings accountable for their actions” because the city “[draws] the line on the rule of law”.

But the EFF provincial chairperson, Melikhaya Xego, described the move as a political ploy.  

“We wait for them to bring the summons … we have not received anything. But it’s fine, we will have to meet each other in court. And then they will have to bring the merits as to why they are saying that. We know it’s a political ploy for the Democratic Alliance. Because it is [the] election year 2021. So it’s as a matter of coming to smear the EFF, that’s all.”

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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