A LARGE crowd of Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters was snaking its way slowly through Johannesburg late on Tuesday as part of a march against “white capital”.
Led by EFF leader Julius Malema, the crowd, numbering as many as 40,000, had already marched on the South African Reserve Bank and the Chamber of Mines and was en route to its last scheduled stop, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) in Sandton. The route through Johannesburg had taken the marchers on a trek of almost 20 kilometres.
There was a brief moment of panic when a number of EFF supporters broke through a gate at the JSE complex but a large police contingent quickly restored order.
The EFF supporters had broken through a security barrier, kicking down the temporary fence, and then proceeded to camp right outside the main entrance of the JSE.
Moments before arriving at the JSE, the EFF’s Floyd Shivhambu announced to the crowd that they were passing the American embassy and that the American government was the enemy of the struggle.
“America is not our friend, it is the friend of the current government ANC,” Shivhambu said.
He said the JSE needed to respond to their demands because American companies had been exploiting South Africans for years.
“Americans have been bullying our government so that they can drop tariffs and dump their products,” Shivambu charged.
A small group of about 100 EFF supporters, singing and dancing with their placards, had been waiting patiently at the corners of Maude Street and Rivonia Road in Sandton for the main body of marchers and Malema and the rest of the EFF leadership to arrive.
The EFF march had started at the Mary Fitzgerald Square on Tuesday morning and with most clad in the party’s signature red t-shirts, the march turned Johannesburg streets into a sea of red.
Malema had earlier criticised the Chamber of Mines, saying they should be ashamed of miners’ deaths on their watch. He also accused South Africa’s mining sector of continuing to kill and exploit workers.
He also called on the South African Reserve Bank to speak to the country’s banks over the issue of high bank charges, saying that people who withdrew cash at retailer Pick n Pay were not charged, but for the same transaction banks charged fees. – ANA