The Solidarity Movement on Tuesday obtained an urgent court order to stop the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) from inciting its members and the public to damage or destroy monuments and statues.
Judge Eben Jordaan granted the order in the High Court in Pretoria. The EFF did not oppose the application. Dirk Hermann, a trustee of the Solidarity Movement Trust, said in court papers the EFF’s actions would result in irreparable harm to race relations and national cohesion and would permanently polarise South African cultures and groups.
He said it was in the public interest that the EFF’s incitement was stopped to enable a national and constructive dialogue on the issues of our collective history, race and the place of heritage monuments and statues.
He added that the EFF’s actions further aggravated racial tension, which was contrary to the spirit of the Constitution.
The EFF has admitted liability for the defacement of the Anglo Boer War statue in Uitenhage, the Paul Kruger and Burgers statue on Church Square in Pretoria and the Louis Botha statue in front of parliament.
Bo Madwara, the EFF’s deputy chairperson for the Nelson Mandela Bay region, earlier stated that the EFF would seek to destroy all colonial monuments.
A member of the EFF, Nazier Paulsen, was quoted in the media as stating that the acts of vandalism and defacement were the first of many to come and that government must act fast if they wished to preserve the monuments and statues.
The EFF has pledged support for anyone facing criminal charges as a result of the defacement of statues.
Hermann said Solidarity and its members formed part of the Afrikaner cultural community, which had a constitutional right to participate in the cultural life of their choice and to have their dignity respected and protected.
An integral part of protecting the dignity of the Afrikaner community was the protection of historical monuments closely connected to the history of the community, he added.
“The protection found in the National Heritage Resources Act fosters a sense of national pride, unity and identity in South Africa. The Act … acknowledges the importance of establishing a culture of understanding and redress, which the respondents neglect to respect or comprehend,” he said.