An EFF leader in the Eastern Cape, caught on tape threatening to burn down a private hospital housing a Clicks pharmacy, and later justifying the threat to local media as him simply following orders from Julius Malema, is in hot water with the party.
The party’s provincial leadership said it would take “appropriate” action against Nelson Mandela Bay EFF regional secretary Hector Peter over comments inciting violence.
Peter, however, told News24 he meant what he said as just an empty threat.
The threat came during a stand-off between EFF members, led by Peter, and the management of Netcare Cuyler Hospital in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape EFF chairman Yazini Tetyana confirmed.
Tetyana said while the party’s aim was to see all Clicks stores countrywide shut down, it did not encourage violence.
He said he had asked Peter to give his side of the story and that appropriate action would follow.
Tetyana said: “We were closing all Clicks stores in the country including in Uitenhage, hence EFF members were there. Our intention was to make sure all the stores are closed without any violence of sort or intimidation.
“In a political space, at time, people tend to be too emotional without meaning some of the things they say. We have asked the regional secretary if indeed this happened. It’s not how EFF operates, we will have further engagement with the member concerned.”
Tetyana said the party successfully closed the Clicks pharmacy following the incident.
‘Following Malema’s directives’
According to HeraldLive, in two video clips doing the rounds on social media, Peter was heard clearly telling the staff that if the EFF’s demands were not met, the hospital would be burnt down.
The newspaper said when asked about the video clips later, Peter readily admitted the threat, but said he was justified in doing so as EFF president Julius Malema had called for the closure of all Clicks stores.
He said the group was simply following Malema’s directive, said the newspaper.
Peter said they had not come to shut down the hospital, but the Clicks store on site.
The hospital dispensary was in the same room from which Clicks operated.
In a statement, general manager of pharmacy at Netcare, Vishala Gokool-Sewram, said: “Whilst the Clicks retail ‘front shops’ at Netcare hospitals and the Clicks pharmacies at Medicross centres are closed currently, the Netcare-owned institutional hospital pharmacies are, however, continuing to supply medicines and equipment to theatres, as well as ICU and ward patients.
“We have been in discussions with the senior management of Clicks earlier this week and received their assurance that they would be taking the necessary action to rectify this situation.”
Called for comment, Peter said: “What I said there was just a political statement, the EFF is a progressive organisation with a commitment to South Africans. We were never going to burn South Africans alive.”
Asked if he meant that he made an empty threat, Peter said: “That is correct.”
16 arrested during EFF protest in Stellenbosch
Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut said one of the protesters also faces a charge of assault on a police officer.
They were arrested for allegedly contravening a court order, which prohibits intimidating or harassing shoppers and staff.
In a video of the incident, the police are seen holding tightly on to some people in red T-shirts.
Clicks made a second successful bid for an interim court order in this regard on Tuesday.
The EFF embarked on a nationwide campaign to close Clicks shops this week, to express its dismay over a hair advertisement.
According to the EFF, the advert was racist, in that it described black women’s hair as “dry and damaged” and the hair of white women as “normal”.
EFF supporters have moved from store to store, either warning staff of their intent and closing the doors or, in some cases, there were also confrontations.
After one of these confrontations, a woman appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for allegedly pulling a gun on some EFF protesters.
The retailer has suspended those involved in placing the advertisement on its website, while a senior executive has also resigned.
Clicks and a few other retailers pulled its stock of TRESemmé, the product that was advertised.
The manufacturer will also be keeping the product off the shelves for at least 10 days.
The EFF also wanted the names of the people involved in the campaign, but Clicks refused on the grounds of privacy.
In a statement after a meeting with Unilever, which produces the product, the EFF said the company would still not say who was in charge of the campaign.
They did, however, say the person has left the company and South Africa.
One of the agreements going forward, besides the EFF being kept abreast of the promised disciplinary processes, is that 10 000 sanitary towels be given to the party for distribution to informal settlements identified by the party.
“In line with the above, the EFF and Unilever have put the matter to rest,” the EFF tweeted.
In other news – Watch: Lerato Kganyago spoils herself with a R2 million Car
Blessings upon blessings seem to be falling onto our favourite Mzansi club DJ and Award-winning TV Presenter, and we just can’t help but congratulate her! The year 2020 is definitely Lerato Kganyago’s year, the media personality got engaged twice and she also had a traditional wedding.