JOHANNESBURG – The Economic Freedom Fighters on Sunday condemned the harassment of its municipal councillors around the country for “their choice to wear overalls to represent its constituency in their councils”.

“We deem this as an orchestrated move to suppress the EFF and its ideas,” EFF acting spokesman Fana Mokoena said.

The Constitution, in the Bill of Rights, gave all citizens and residents freedom of expression. It also stated that all state organs should protect these rights. The EFF had elected to express itself in a certain way which it deemed representative of its constituency. “It is not obscene, does not infringe on other people’s rights, and is peaceful and non-violent in character,” he said.

Councils across the country had altered rules just prior to the elections “specifically for the purpose of harassing EFF councillors when they get elected into office”.

“We condemn this move in the harshest terms. The erstwhile ANC [African National Congress] machinery, in anticipation of its humiliation in the 2016 election, moved to harass the one party they knew would keep them on their toes and hold them accountable,” Mokoena said.

Councils in the Eastern Cape, especially in OR Tambo, Chris Hani, BCM, and others, and in KwaZulu-Natal, especially in Ulundi, Mhlatuze, and others, continued to expel EFF members from councils and some had not even sworn them in.

“In North West our members have resorted to the humiliating means of walking almost naked in protest of this unjust treatment. We call on the ANC and the IFP [Inkatha Freedom Party] in KZN to cease with this unconstitutional practice and we warn them that we will take advantage of all avenues to ensure our members’ rights are preserved and we will not stop until the situation has been rectified.

“It is also surprising that this blanket harassment was not evenly applied across provinces even where the rules are the same. This demonstrates the inconsistent belief even by councils themselves in these draconian and archaic rules. The highest legislative body in the land, National Parliament, has been correctly advised not to meddle with EFF members’ rights in terms of the dress code,” he said.

“Other organs of state should have taken example. It must however be noted that the National Assembly has also instituted new rules designed specifically for the purpose of extracting EFF members from the House. The EFF has sent a letter to the minister of co-operative governance and traditional affairs on this matter and National Assembly will be dealt with separately.

“We want to state to all our detractors: The EFF is here to stay. There is not a single thing any of these dinosaur movements can do to derail that reality. We are a government in waiting. Perhaps they should take counsel of this fact when dealing with us in the present. Ours is a movement whose time has arrived and this is cast in stone. South Africa is not theirs and theirs alone to do as they please with it,” Mokoena said.

– African News Agency

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