City ‘loses’ interdict against council protesters

The Johannesburg Social Movement said that an interdict against them by the City of Johannesburg has failed following a South Gauteng High Court appearance last week.

The movement made headlines after a protest at the 23 February council meeting. The protest led to chaos erupting in the council chambers. Protesters flooded the chamber, breaking glassware, windows, televisions and even threw council agendas at councillors still in the chamber.

This led to an urgent interdict being filed by the City against another march by the movement. Advocate Ernest Chipu, the deputy director of legal services in the legislature, said the interdict requested that no march be allowed near City buildings. “If the court grants it, violation of the interdict will be a contempt of court,” he said.

Read: Why Mashaba scrapped Jozi@Work 

On 23 February, Executive Mayor Herman Mashaba blamed the ANC for allegedly staging an orchestrated attack on democracy under the auspices of their front organisation, the Johannesburg Social Movement (JSM).

The ANC, however, condemned the violence and blamed the chaos on Mashaba’s refusal to accept a memorandum from the protesters.

The movement’s spokesperson, Tshepang Mokgatla said most of the people who seek their support are either not politically affiliated, or support different parties, including the Democratic Alliance, Mashaba’s party.

“JSM is supported by people from Jozi@Work and other programmes cut by the mayor like various mushroom farms and bakeries,” he said.

“We applied to march that day. We expected Mashaba to receive the memorandum, but he refused. We had wanted it to be an official engagement,” he said.

Mokgatla said that previous attempts were made to meet with the mayor, to no avail.

Read: BREAKING NEWS: Chaos in Joburg Council as marchers wreak havoc 

“We will continue to march until both Mashaba and the speaker of the council, Vasco Da Gama, receive the memorandum,” he said.

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the interdict was applied for from the speaker’s office.

Mokgatla said that the closing of the programmes is affecting 8 000 families and 112 cooperatives creating opportunities. He called it an attack on the poor.

The mayor, when confronted with this number in council, questioned the validity of the figure and said that he did not know where that information comes from. He said that the Jozi@Work programme only benefited the politically connected and that the City is working on an alternative programme.

“Without fail, every community explained that these work opportunities were handed out on the basis of membership to the previous governing party. If you did not hold such a membership card, there was no real point in trying,” alleged Mashaba.

Related articles:

Chaos ‘attempt to prevent budget adjustment’

Criticism from EFF, ANC over adjustment budget 

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