Letter: Vital that sanctions be imposed on callous EFF - The Star

9 September 2020 - At a time of great hardship for millions of people, this week the EFF found itself unable to place South Africans above petty political theatre.

At a time of great hardship for millions of people, this week the EFF found itself unable to place South Africans above petty political theatre.

The economy is in a dire state, unemployment poses a massive threat to the lives and livelihoods of many, and society is desperate for hope. At such a critical juncture, the EFF demonstrated its callousness and deafness to the very real plight of South Africans by staging its theatre of the empty gesture.

While unemployment threatens to overwhelm many homes, the EFF used violence to shut places of work, placing jobs at risk and depriving customers of access to essential medications. In doing so, the party found itself on the wrong side of good sense, ubuntu and the Constitution.

While protest is a constitutional right, no one has the right to inflict harm on others, as the EFF so blatantly did yesterday in several protests at Clicks pharmacies.

Research on South African race relations and attitudes conducted by the Institute of Race Relations makes clear that the behaviour of the EFF represents a rejection of the decency of most South Africans, who want to live in prosperous communities in a peaceful country.

The law must be seen to be applied to the EFF's violent and coercive conduct. Failure to impose severe sanctions for the incitement and violence seen will illustrate that all are not equal before the law.

Hermann Pretorius, deputy head of policy research, Institute of Race Relations

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