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Phahlane insists Save SA march is illegal despite court permission

Acting National Police Commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane says whether or not the Tshwane protest is legal, police will be deployed there anyway.

FILE: Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Despite a Magistrates Court granting civil society organisation Save SA permission to march in Pretoria on Friday, acting National Police Commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane insisted that the march is illegal.

The Tshwane Metro Police Department had earlier on Thursday said the South African Communist Party (SACP) and Save SA were unable to submit the required documents and that made the marches illegal.

However, after Save SA approached the courts, permission was granted for the march to proceed.

“If the organisers were unhappy with this and they happened to have went to court, they’ve exercised their right to do so. But you can’t come here and tell us it’s bizarre not to have an outcome of a process that we’re not privy to.”

Phahlane told the media during a press briefing in Pretoria that it was not his responsibility to communicate to the protesters.

He says whether or not the Tshwane protest was legal, police would be deployed there anyway.

“It’s immaterial, whether you’re dealing a legal or an illegal march. We’re saying to you as the South African Police Service, we’re going to be policing that event.”

When told that Save SA had approached the court to grant them permission to protest, he insisted that according to the police, permission had not been granted.

WHO’S FOOLING WHO?

Save SA’s Mark Heywood says: “Unfortunately General Phahlane has not been properly briefed by his staff. Either that or he is being deliberately misleading. We have permission now from the Magistrate Court giving permission for the march from Church Square to the Union Buildings between 11am and 4pm.”

Heywood said that officials were giving them the runaround and that they had complied with all requirements.

“I don’t think we can be faulted. I am just worried what is behind this. We will get to the bottom of that.”

But Phahlane said according to the documents they have, the marches remain a contravention of the law.

“I thought I was very clear, that as we are sitting here, we did not have approval for any of the marches or protest action planned for Tshwane.

“So if there are rumours that there has been permission, it remains rumours until there is concrete approval.”

Last night, Eyewitness News received confirmation that Save SA’s urgent court application to ensure the group’s march goes ahead as planned on Friday had been granted.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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