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Zille to lead DA march 'for real jobs'

Genevieve Quintal

DA leader Helen Zille will lead her party members in a march for "real jobs" but will not be allowed to go directly to Luthuli House.

DA leader Helen Zille. (Gallo)

DA leader Helen Zille will lead her party members in a march for "real" jobs on Wednesday, but will not make it to the ANC's doorstep as originally planned.

The Democratic Alliance initially intended marching to the ANC's headquarters, Luthuli House, in the Johannesburg city centre as part of the DA's "fight for jobs".

However, the Johannesburg metro police had set the perimeters for the DA's march to end at Beyers Naude Square, a block away from Luthuli House.

Zille's spokesperson Cameron Arendse on Tuesday said the party was disappointed that it could not march directly to the ANC offices.

The march would be led by Zille, DA parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko, DA Gauteng Premier candidate Mmusi Maimane, DA federal chairperson Wilmot James, and youth leader Mbali Ntuli.

The DA was supposed to march earlier this month but postponed the event after appealing against a decision by the metro police stopping the party from marching. The Johannesburg Magistrate's Court overturned the metro police's decision.

Zille's initial announcement last month of the intended march was met with fury by the ANC and its supporters.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu warned the party not to provoke the ANC. He warned the DA about what happened when it marched to the Congress of South African Trade Unions' office two years ago.

Stone throwing
Cosatu members threw stones at DA supporters as they made their way to the lawns of the Jo'burg (formerly the Civic) Theatre, 50 metres from the trade union federation's office. Riot police were alerted and teargas and water cannon were used. 

Mthembu said the ANC did not want to be put in the same situation and called on the DA to reconsider the march. Zille said there was nothing provocative about the decision to march.

Before the court judgment, Mthembu said the decision to prevent the march confirmed the ANC's long-held view that the DA's march was ill-advised, ill-informed and risky. "We would have welcomed the opportunity to educate the DA that successive ANC governments have turned around a collapsing and nearly bankrupt economy in 1994 into a thriving one with growth rates averaging 3.6% annually consistently over the last two decades."

He said the ANC remained willing to engage with society, including the DA, on the issues covered in the ANC election manifesto.

ANC members gathered outside Luthuli House on Tuesday for a blitz campaign in the city centre. This was after the DA march had been called off.

The DA will start its march at 10am on Wednesday at the Westgate Transport Hub in Johannesburg.

The Gauteng department of community safety said there would be some road closures. The roads affected are: Miriam Makeba Street, Marshall Street, Harrison Street and roads in and around Beyers Naudé Square. – Sapa

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