ANC takes ‘violent’ DA march to court

Expectations of violence increased on Wednesday while the Democratic Alliance (DA) prepared to march on the ANC's headquarters, Luthuli House, in Johannesburg.

The ANC said in a radio interview on Wednesday morning that it was anticipating a violent march in the Johannesburg city centre.

Speaking to Tim Modise on PowerFM, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the DA was preparing for war.

"They are coming armed to the teeth, with helmets, batons, shields. They have even booked places in hospitals. That can only be the actions of a party at war. This is why we are at the [high court in Johannesburg], to ask for a protection order against the DA and violence."

The DA's march for "real" jobs will start its march at 10am on Wednesday at the Westgate Transport Hub in Johannesburg.

ANC's promise of six-million
The party originally said it would march to the ANC's headquarters, Luthuli House, in the Johannesburg city centre but this plan was thwarted by Metro police.

The party would instead march to Beyers Naude Square, a block away from Luthuli House.

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

The party said it wanted to expose the ANC's promise of six-million "work opportunities" as nothing more than temporary public works placements, and contrast them with the six-million "real" jobs the DA would create if elected to national government.

Marching on the ANC, not government
In the interview, Maimane countered that the opposition party perceived a threat of violence by the ANC's alliance partner, the South African Communist Party (SACP).

"The SACP issued a statement threatening the DA. We respect the law, which is why when JMPD said we can't march, we went to the courts. I have footage of [SACP members] with DA flags and T-shirts, burning them. That is incitement in some places," Maimane said.

Maimane also explained why the DA was marching on the ANC and not government. 

"At the ANC manifesto launch, Jacob Zuma promised six-million jobs. That is not sustainable … it has everything to do with [an ANC] manifesto announced by Zuma at the ANC manifesto launch."

But Mthembu felt the party should be holding government responsible, and not one particular party. 

"We have marched as the ANC but to government offices because we feel government is responsible. We know that by marching to a political party, we might be creating conditions of war," he said.

March postponement 
The march was originally planned for last week but the party postponed it due to logistical reasons.

This was after it had to appeal the Johannesburg metro police's decision preventing the party from marching.

The DA appealed in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court where the decision was overturned.

The ANC said it would meet the DA on the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday.

The party called on its members to be at Luthuli House to "welcome" the DA and receive its memorandum.

In 2012, the DA's march for a youth wage subsidy to the Cosatu head office in Braamfontein turned violent. Cosatu forms part of the tripartite alliance, which includes the ANC and the SACP.

Cosatu members threw rocks at DA supporters as they made their way to the lawns of the Jo'burg (formerly the Civic) Theatre, 50m away from the trade union federation's office.

Riot police were called to the scene and tear gas and water cannons were fired. – Sapa

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Guest Author

Related stories

George Bizos dies at 92

Renowned human rights lawyer George Bizos, who defended Nelson Mandela and other struggle icons during the treason trial and Rivonia trial, represented families at the TRC, and later represented Marikana miners’ families, has died

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday