Bricks fly as ANC, police clash during DA protest

Violence has erupted during the Democratic Alliance's (DA's) "real jobs" march in Johannesburg's city centre.

Clashes between ANC and DA supporters flared up as the opposition took to the city centre to protest against job promises made by President Jacob Zuma in January.

According to tweets by the Mail & Guardian's Phillip de Wet, ANC supporters charged at marching DA members. "Cops just fired 4 flashbacks [stun grenades] at storming ANC, drove them back. A few bricks flying."

Marching on the ANC
Speaking to Tim Modise on PowerFM earlier in the day, DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane​ explained during the radio interview 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 ANC spokesperson Jackson 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.

Meanwhile, around noon DA supporters were told to stop at the corner of Rissik and Marshall streets over concerns that there may be trouble ahead.

A South African Police Service officer told DA supporters the march had ended as it was "too dangerous".

DA leader Helen Zille was preparing to address her supporters at the time.

'Armed to the teeth'
Before the start of the march, the ANC took an urgent application to the high court in Johannesburg to seek protection from the DA's march, saying the opposition party was armed. The application was dismissed.

"We are fine with the judge's decision, and we respect that," said spokesperson Jackson Mthembu. "We are also delighted by the fact that the DA made a legally binding undertaking in court to not come near the ANC headquarters during the march … I love our democracy."

While speaking on PowerFM earlier in the day, 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."

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.

The DA's march for "real" jobs started at 10am at the Westgate Transport Hub in Johannesburg. – Sapa, additional reporting by Staff Reporter


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