The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in KwaZulu-Natal has decided to postpone its planned shutdown against DA KZN premier candidate, Chris Pappas. The uMngeni municipality sought an urgent court interdict to stop the protest, and the interdict was granted by the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Sunday. The shutdown was initially scheduled to take place on Monday.
The reason behind the shutdown was a complaint filed by former DA KZN leader, Sizwe Mchunu, with the public protector’s office. Mchunu alleged that a tourism contract was awarded to Pappas’s fiancé, Jean-Pierre Prinsloo.
He claimed that Prinsloo was appointed as chairperson of uMngeni Tourism after leaving his job as a councillor at the eThekwini municipality and relocating to uMngeni. Mchunu also alleged that the municipality was providing more funding to uMngeni Tourism than other entities.
The ANCYL called for the immediate resignation and arrest of Pappas, as well as a shutdown in the municipality. However, Pappas denied the allegations and stated that Prinsloo was appointed before he became the uMngeni mayor. He regarded the claims as part of a smear campaign by the ANC, surfacing after his announcement to run for premier in the province.
To protect property and lives, the municipality took the ANCYL to court, arguing that the provisions of the Gatherings Act had not been followed and that there was evidence of a threat of violence and chaos. The court granted the interdict and awarded a cost order against the ANCYL. Pappas assured that the municipality would deploy all law enforcement mechanisms to prevent any unlawful activities by the ANCYL.
Pappas emphasized that the uMngeni municipality is not against lawful protests or demonstrations, but he stressed the importance of following due process to protect the rights of both protesters and non-protesters. The ANCYL is interdicted from shutting down schools, retail stores, businesses, trade, and public roads. The youth structure acknowledged the interdict and submitted a notice, which was unjustly denied. They have now submitted a second application, which is still pending.
Responding to the situation, the ANCYL KZN criticized Pappas for avoiding peaceful protesters exercising their democratic rights. They believe that peaceful assembly and expression are fundamental pillars of democracy and should not be dismissed as unlawful without addressing the underlying grievances. The youth structure called on Pappas to resign from his position, citing a severe disconnect with democratic principles and the rights of the people.
The ANCYL KZN declared that they would not be intimidated by threats and would continue to assert their democratic rights through peaceful demonstrations. They announced a march to be held on Wednesday.