DA march on ANC an act of 'extreme provocation' - Mthembu

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu. (Oupa Nkosi, M&G)

The Democratic Alliance (DA) is provoking the ANC by marching to its headquarters in Johannesburg, spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said on Wednesday.

"To us, this march by the DA is extreme provocation to the ANC. It can't be anything else," he said. "What happens if our members come to protect Chief Albert Luthuli House? We should remind them what happened when they marched somewhere."

Mthembu was referring to a DA march in 2012 to the Cosatu office in Braamfontein, where the trade federation's members threw stones at DA supporters as they made their way to the lawns of the Jo'burg Theatre, 50m away from Cosatu's office.
Riot police were called to the scene and tear gas and water cannons were fired.

Mthembu said the ANC did not want to be put in the same situation. Marching to another political party's headquarters was a "recipe for disaster", he said.

DA leader Helen Zille said she would lead 6 000 of her party's supporters in a march to Luthuli House in the Johannesburg city centre on February 4 to take the "fight for jobs" to the ruling party.

'Failure of Jacob Zuma'
"Each DA supporter will represent 1 000 unemployed South Africans, who will benefit from the six-million real jobs that the DA will create if elected to national government," she said in a statement. "We are taking the fight to Luthuli House to highlight the failure of [President] Jacob Zuma's ANC to cut corruption and create jobs."

Zille said the DA would expose the ANC manifesto pledge of creating six-million job opportunities as "bogus" and accused Zuma of misleading people.

"These are not real jobs. They are temporary public works' placements that will do little to grow the economy and lift people out of poverty permanently and sustainably," she said.

Zille said the DA informed the Johannesburg Metro police and the ANC's secretary general Gwede Mantashe about the march.

"We have guaranteed him that our march will be peaceful, and that we expect our constitutional right to gather and protest to be respected," she said.

Mthembu said the ANC asked the DA to reconsider having the march as there was nothing to gain by doing this.

'Debate policies'
"They have different policies to those of the ANC and them marching to Luthuli House does not change ANC policies ... Our democratic order has created a platform where we can debate policies, and that place is Parliament."

He said the ANC would bring a debate in Parliament on whether it was appropriate for parties to march to each other's offices. Mthembu accused the DA of bringing about instability.

"We hope they are mature enough not to cause instability with elections three months away ... All of us are working hard to make sure there is political tolerance. We will condemn anybody who wants to come provoke ANC members at the ANC headquarters," he said. – Sapa

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