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ANCYL call on ‘madam’ Zille to receive memorandum

She has stated categorically that she would not accept the memorandum from the league unless it withdrew its alleged threats to "make the city ungovernable".

ANC Youth League spokesperson Magdalene Moonsamy said they would not apologise. "We will never apologise to the madam, to Zille. The days of apartheid are over. They want to charge us, but we'll charge Helen Zille for genocide in the Western Cape."

Nobody was really expecting Zille to appear on the front steps of the provincial government offices on Monday.

"We want Zille. We want the madam," the crowd chanted.

Alan Winde, Western Cape minister of finance, economic development and tourism was given a poor reception when he stepped out of the building in her place.

The chairperson of the youth league in the Dullah Omar region, Khaya Yozi, said he believed Zille was inside the building as the crowd gathered outside to vent its frustration at the alleged lack of service delivery.

"We also called Zille to try and talk to her before the march, but she never calls us back," said Yozi.

Regular marches
Yozi said the youth league would now gather to decide whether it would stage regular "economic freedom" marches to the city.

There now appears to be a political stand-off. Mayor Patricia De Lille and Zille have laid charges against the youth league after its march last month on the provincial offices and a claim in the memorandum handed in to her offices suggested that they would "make the city ungovernable". 

This week Zille said the investigation into the charges they laid against the ANC Youth League had only just begun. "The investigation is still in its infacy so the premier is awaiting feedback and updates from the police as their work progresses," said Zille's spokesperson, Zac Mbhele.

At today's march, the league kept to its word that it would apply for the necessary permission and staged a peaceful march on the city route from Keizergracht Street to the Wale Street offices.

But not everybody was happy with the marchers. De Lille said the march had permission to start by 11am, but it only got underway an hour later. There was also concern that some of the marchers had begun to gather from Salt River Station, instead of Keizergracht Street, where permission had been granted to begin the march. 

The police contingent in and around the city was large, and many of the police were wearing riot gear, which they told the Mail & Guardian had been purchased for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. 

Disciplined crowd
Although the league declared Monday a public holiday, and said it was expecting around 14 000 people to join in, the anticipated numbers did not pitch for the march. 

Some tourists mingled with the disciplined crowd in the city, taking photographs of the marchers, while workers peered down from buildings around the city. 

Many shops were boarded up for the march, in anticipation of trouble, but the crowd dispersed peacefully.

The league has demanded that land owned by private individuals and companies be made available to house the Western Cape's poor.

This was the first of nine demands contained in a memorandum delivered to the Western Cape government.

"There are white people who don't even live in South Africa. They live overseas. Yet, they own land in our country. Without land we can't fight for the economy we want," Yozi said , as he read the memorandum over a loudspeaker.

Yozi singled out Constantia and the Rondebosch Common as land that could be given to the province's poor. More than 1 000 protesters, most of them affiliated to the local youth league, the provincial ANC, the Young Communist League, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the ANC Women's League assembled outside the Western Cape legislature.

Zille could not be reached for comment. – additional reporting by Sapa

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Glynnis Underhill
Glynnis Underhill has been in journalism for more years than she cares to remember. She loves a good story as much now as she did when she first started. The only difference is today she hopes she is giving something back to the country.

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