National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole was “surprised” that the organisers of the Total Shutdown march had been charged, and confirmed that the case against them had been closed.
“At no stage was the SAPS [South African Police Service] management informed that the Total Shutdown protesters transgressed in any way before, during or after the protest march. Therefore, SAPS management finds it surprising that a case of such a nature would be opened.
“In light of this, a decision has been taken to close this docket as being unfounded,” Sitole said.
On Monday, it was reported that police in Tshwane opened a case of public violence against the movement, which was in protest of gender-based violence, femicide and the harassment of women.
The organisers were asked to report to the Sunnyside Police Station in Pretoria on charges that included violating the march permit, intimidating the President and violence at the Union Buildings.
The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa yesterday condemned what they called the “victimising and attacking” of the organisers.
Thousands of women and gender non-conforming people gathered at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on August 1 to protest against gender based violence. Gathered outside the Union Buildings, they waited until late into the night, stubbornly refusing to leave, demanding President Cyril Ramaphosa receive their memorandum.
“This is an attempt to silence and intimidate the organisers and participants of this peaceful and just march,” Numsa’s general secretary, Irvin Jim, said yesterday.
“We are familiar with these brutal tactics. They were used by the apartheid government against a powerful women’s movement of 1956, when they marched to the very same Union Buildings demanding an end to the humiliating dompas system.”
Jim said that Numsa members were prepared to shut down the country should the charges not be dropped.
Sitole said he will also attend to the allegations made by some of the protesters that they were violated by police during the protest.
These allegations, Sitole said, were being viewed very seriously by police management.
“At least four cases against police have been opened in this regard and these cases will be treated with the priority they deserve,” the national commissioner said. – SAnews.gov.za