Healthcare group Clicks has won an interim court order interdicting the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) from “intimidating and threatening” its employees at stores or other Clicks operations.
In an order issued on Tuesday morning, the Johannesburg high court also interdicted the EFF from intimidating and threatening Clicks’ customers attending at its shops.
The EFF is also “interdicted and restrained from inciting violence against the ordinary commercial operations of the Applicant [Clicks],” the order reads.
The interim order will remain in force pending the finalisation of Clicks’ case against the EFF, which is set to be heard on 22 September, 2020.
EFF embarked on a shutdown of Clicks’ stores on Monday in protest against an advert that portrayed African hair negatively compared to white hair. Images in the advert described African hair as “dry and damaged” as well as “frizzy and dull.”
More than 400 Clicks stores countrywide had to close as a result. Several stores were vandalised, burned and trashed in the process.
‘Ensure Clicks does not operate’
In a statement reacting to the interim interdict, the EFF said, “The EFF would like to category state that we have not engaged in or commissioned any violence against employees, customers or commercial operations of Clicks.”
It maintained that its leaders and members had only engaged in “disciplined” protests, “engaging prospective customers of Clicks on the racism perpetuated by the entity and engaging workers on the conditions they face while working for Clicks.”
The EFF rejected the “infiltration” of its protests by “agent provocateurs” who wish to “tarnish” its reputation. It vowed to identify, isolate and “deal” with them “severely.”
It insisted that its interactions with Clicks customers and employees have been “peaceful” and urged law enforcement agencies not to infringe on its right to demonstrate.
“Accordingly, all members and ground forces of the EFF must intensify their efforts to ensure Clicks does not operate, and this must be done through peaceful means,” the EFF said.
In a statement on Monday, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said acts of vandalism and “lawless behaviour” are a “not a responsible way to resolve conflict,” he added.
“As this matter is being ventilated, government calls on all South Africans to resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands, remain calm and follow the correct and legal channels to address their concerns,” Mthembu said.