The police have laid charges of contravention of the Disaster Management Act against the conveners of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) march on Friday.

An estimated 2 000 EFF supporters marched to the offices of the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA), demanding that the Russian and Chinese vaccines also be made available to South Africans.

The protest contravened lockdown regulations that limit outside gatherings to 100 people. Police Spokesperson, Brenda Muridili, says a case was opened at the Sunnyside Police Station.

“At this stage there hasn’t been any charges that has been. The main charge now is the contravention of the Disaster Management Act. But there is also a possibility of more charges that might be introduced. For now, there is an investigation on the part of the investigators to ensure they present to court a water-tight case,” Muridili says.

She says police were initially prepared for 100 protestors, but when the masses turned up they had to think strategically on how to handle the situation.

“You looking at the police asking the conveners of the march to disperse and then peacefully do so. We are also looking at the possibility that should we ask them to do that and they become violent, how are we going to handle the situation. We did not want to find ourselves in a situation where the police had to use force on people that were resisting or not complying with an instruction.”

The march took place in an environment, where the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is fuelling the high numbers of infections in Gauteng.

EFF leader, Julius Malema, has denied that the march was a super-spreader event.

Acting Health Minister, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, is appealing to the leaders of political parties not to hold events that contravene COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

“Whether you deny that your event is a super-spreader, it’s not about that. It’s scientifically proven that, when we have a gathering of many people, that event becomes a super-spreader. Two wrongs don’t make it right. Don’t argue that people are doing this. Let’s help each other. Each one of us has a duty. Each one of us has a responsibility. So play your part. Help us,” Kubayi-Ngubane.

The Delta variant was first detected in India. Experts says the variant is expected to become dominant in other provinces as well.