ANC supporters challenge DA march for jobs at Luthuli House. Police used force to stop clashes between the two groups., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
ANC members 'well behaved' says Mthembu as DA march ends
South Africa Wednesday 12 February 2014 - 1:27pm
JOHANNESBURG - ANC members were well behaved during a march by the Democratic Alliance, spokesman Jackson Mthembu said on Wednesday.
"I didn't see any violence. I only see people running and marching," he said.
"If there was any violence, we would condemn it... but from where I am seated our member have been well behaved. There was no threat from ourselves."
If we saw anybody doing that we would have acted on that. We have heard of people carrying bricks but I didn't see that.
Violence flared up in central Johannesburg on Wednesday during a march by the DA over "real jobs".
Police stopped the march on Marshall and Rissik streets saying it was too dangerous for them to continue.
A short while later, a group of people wearing ANC attire ran towards the marchers forcing police to fire stun grenades at them.
On Miriam Makeba Street a group, also dressed in ANC attire, threw petrol bombs at police.
Mthembu said he had not witnessed either of these incidents.
"If we saw anybody doing that we would have acted on that. We have heard of people carrying bricks but I didn't see that," he said.
"We don't accept any throwing of bricks on any matter."
Mthembu blamed the alleged violence on the DA, saying they knew the march near Luthuli House was ill-advised.
"The DA hired a private security company, they were well armed. They are helmeted. They came to attack Luthuli House," he claimed.
"The march ended because the DA leadership decided on it. They did it on their own accord."
The march was stopped by police around midday and it was re-routed back to the Westgate Transport hub.
DA spokesman Mmusi Maimane told supporters to disperse peacefully. He said the ANC were losers.
"Comrades, victors are here and losers are there. When you get to the townships don't fight. We are not fighting with anyone.
ANC response to the DA claims on jobs
11 February 2014
The Stats SA Quarterly Report on Labor reports that 1 million more South Africans are employed bring the total number of employed people over 15 million, the highest it has ever been in the history of our country.
The report shows that the interventions by the ANC led government in various sectors such as Manufacturing, Infrastructure, Tourism Trade; Aqua Culture amongst others is making good progress.
The Western Cape does show the best result if one looks at the report, however the areas in which jobs were created such as the manufacturing, Tourism Trade, Private Households, and Finance are not areas in which the Western Cape government has had any influence.
On the contrary the deliberate intervention of National government departments such as Tourism, Economic Development and the Dti have seen the creation of new industries in Atlantis with the development of Electrical works factories. In the West Coast of the province, the Aqua culture jobs created were the initiative of the National Department of Agriculture and the upswing in the Construction Industry has been the direct result of National Infrastructure Development Programme.
The Western Cape government in real terms has lost 8000 jobs in the government sector, whilst national government employment has increased by 98 000 jobs.
Over the last 4 and half years if we analyze where job growth has been the most sustainable it has been in Gauteng and in Limpopo. We would wish for more jobs to be created in the Western Cape and elsewhere, but we think it is disingenuous of the DA to try and claim the reasons for the creation of jobs.
When the country should be celebrating having achieved 15.1 million jobs the highest level of employment ever in our history the Desperate Alternative seeks to bring the country down and claim for itself what it did not achieve.
The ANC is determined to take South Africa forward, working together will all those who have the interests of our nation at heart.
Deputy Secretary General
South Africa police clash with ANC supporters at opposition march
Wed, Feb 12 2014
By Tiisetso Motsoeneng
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African police fired rubber bullets on Wednesday at stone throwing supporters of the ruling ANC who tried to confront members of the opposition Democratic Alliance party as they marched in central Johannesburg.
The incident is a sign of rising tensions in South Africa before general elections on May 7, which are seen as the biggest political test yet for President Jacob Zuma and his African National Congress (ANC), which has been in power for 20 years since the end of white apartheid rule.
Police, between the lines of rival supporters, opened fire briefly at ANC members clad in the party's yellow T-shirts.
A police spokesman said petrol bombs were also thrown at officers who responded with stun grenades as well as rubber bullets.
Four people - wearing t-shirts bearing the ANC logo - were subsequently arrested for public violence and illegally carrying dangerous weapons during the march, police said.
Thousands of supporters from both parties were brought in by bus; the DA to march in what it said was a protest about high rates of unemployment in Africa's largest economy and the ANC to defend its headquarters in Johannesburg.
After the brief clash with police the marchers turned around and the protest ended, with DA members saying they had decided to call things off to prevent further violence.
Commentators have viewed the march by the DA, the country's biggest opposition party, as an action or provocation deliberately designed to expose what the opposition says is the ANC's intolerant nature.
"Will every voter now get the point about what an undemocratic and violent and intolerant organisation the ANC is," DA leader Helen Zille told local TV news channel eNCA.
"We knew we were not getting to our end destination from the start, because the ANC came with missiles, petrol bombs, bricks and stones. I was amazed that the police allowed them to do that," she said.
The DA is trying to shake its image as a party devoted to the interests and privileges of the white minority and almost all of the marchers clad in its blue shirts on Wednesday were black, drawing scorn from ANC supporters.
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu condemned the DA march.
"It cannot be a wise step for any party to want to march to another party office, very ill informed, very dangerous, very risky, because we share nothing in common with the DA, how can you march ... to the revolutionary house," he said.
Sipho Mkhwanazi, a 40-year-old ANC supporter, was equally critical of the DA.
"Those poor black people who were marching today possibly got paid to come here and be the face of the DA."
The DA's attempts to broaden its demographic appeal have suffered some recent setbacks.
Prominent black anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele last week backtracked on a brief pledge to run for president for the DA, frustrating the party's push to win more black votes in the election.
The ANC is expected to easily extended its two-decade rule but with a reduced majority as millions of black South Africans remain mired in poverty and frustrated with the slow pace of change and economic transformation.
Still, South Africa remains a very different place, a point highlighted by the stark contrast between Wednesday's march and one from 20 years ago, just ahead of the elections that brought Nelson Mandela to power as the country's first black president.
In that incident, thousands of members of the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party marched on the ANC's Johannesburg headquarters and security guards opened fire with live ammunition, killing 19 people.
(Additional reporting by Zandi Shabalala; Writing by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa and Ralph Boulton)
'Real jobs' march: How the DA got lucky
The DA took a gamble when it marched on the ANC. And that it seemingly came out ahead had more to do with luck than wisdom, writes Phillip de Wet.
13 Feb 2014 06:41 Phillip De Wet
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is not a house entirely united. Right from the mooting of the idea to march on Luthuli House, purportedly to advance an agenda on jobs, it was opposed by some of the top party leadership.
But the voices of caution lost out to those caught in the grip of election fever. A big splash was needed, the reasoning went, and a head-on confrontation with the ANC could both sway undecided voters and help ward off a bleed of votes to smaller opposition parties.
It also seems likely that the sudden upsurge in support for the Economic Freedom Fighters, with its unashamed militancy, was in the backs of the minds of those who got their way.
On Wednesday, both the DA and the ANC claimed victory, even before the DA march in the Johannesburg city centre had properly ended. Both parties were deluding themselves to reach their conclusions, though for the DA the danger inherent in that self-delusion is larger.
The DA got lucky. It risked drawing a violent response from ANC supporters, and justified the risk by speaking about democratic rights.
Had any of its members – or perhaps worse, some of its private security guards – been injured on the day, those injured people would inevitably have been seen as martyrs.
But whose martyrs, exactly? Could South Africa have come to see them as human sacrifices offered up by a coldly calculating party?
The DA also risked a confrontation with police on the day. Had the situation been judged sufficiently volatile, police commanders would have been obliged to prevent the DA from marching at all. The party would then have a choice between an embarrassing climb-down (with an associated whiff of cowardice) or being the antithesis of a law-and-order party, while trying to campaign on crime and lawlessness. Either would have cost it dearly.
The biggest risk, though, is that DA supporters would take the fight to the ANC and would become the aggressors.
The DA insists that when it marched on the Cosatu headquarters in 2012 and the rocks started flying, its members were merely retaliating. "They were picking up the bricks at their feet and throwing them back," as one leader puts it.
Yet in the midst of the chaos of that day it was hard to say just who threw the first projectile, or the first insult, and the country was left only with the enduring image of two groups fighting it out with little to tell them apart but the colours of their T-shirts.
And of course there was the risk on Wednesday that the DA crowd would get such a beating at the hands of the ANC's "defenders", that individuals and communities around the country would be cowed out of open support for the DA in the May elections.
None of these eventualities came to pass, because the DA got lucky. Its preparations largely held, its discipline did not falter until the end, and the police were both decisive and nimble enough to prevent any real violence. It could, very easily indeed, have been different.
A true gambler will tell you that the time to be most cautious is when you are winning. Should the DA now come to believe its own line, that Wednesday's march was a victory, things could go badly for it.
If anything, Wednesday showed just how inept the DA is at the more vigorous brand of street politics. Only last-minute negotiations prevented a fallout with some of its hired security guards over payment; its own marshals simply did not have the numbers to do the job. It very nearly fluffed a rendition of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika, and relied heavily on common struggle songs, because it lacks the showmanship that seems so essential to advancement through the ranks of other parties.
Most importantly, the DA becomes a plodding beast on the streets. It lacks the vitality of a Cosatu crowd, the raw emotion of an ANC crowd, and the speed and fury of the EFF.
In the end, the game of street politics is rigged against the DA. It did not lose on Wednesday, and it may get lucky next time, and the time after that, but every streak must come to an end.
ANC statement on the DA`s planned march
11 Febraury 2014
The African National Congress will today apply for a protective order at the South Gauteng High Court against the planned march to Chief Albert Luthuli House by the DA tomorrow.
This has been necessitated by information at our disposal which indicates that the DA has contracted a private security company that will be armed to form part of the march. In addition they have booked a hospital, procured helmets and shields, and organized emergency services to be on standby. This clearly shows that they have no intention of conducting a peaceful political event.
The ANC is taking every measure possible to ensure that tomorrow passes off peacefully. We have engaged with law enforcement agencies to ensure all appropriate measures are taken.
However the ANC needs to secure its head quarters, where its members/volunteers, staff and operations are busy working and preparing for the elections. The application to South Gauteng High Court is to ensure that there is no potential for incidents of intimidation and provocation - including damage to property and injury to people-in and around our head quarters.
The march by the DA on the ANC head quarters- Chief Albert Luthuli House - is part of the desperate and high -risk stunts which the DA is resorting to in order to capture the political limelight. We only need to look back a few days to see how desperate the DA has been in trying to capture some limelight with its failed attempted take over of Agang.
However this time the risks they are taking places ordinary people in danger. When they march with weapons and hired gunmen - they are taking us back to an era when violence and conflict defined our political environment. We call on all South Africans to condemn this political stunt and to exercise their democratic right and vote on the 7th May 2014.
African National Congress
Keith Khoza: 082 823 9672
Khusela Sangoni-Khawe : 079 510 5408
Foreign influence in DA-AGANG merger extremely concerning
4 February 2014
In a week of tragicomic melodrama starring the DA and Agang, the African National Congress has noted with deep concern the latest revelations about a mystery international donor being behind the parties` ill-fated merger last week. What is most worrying for the ANC is the public admission by the leaders of the two parties that these foreign elements, using their financial resources as leverage, are able to dictate to them how they should structure their organisation, who should lead them, who they should fight with and of necessity, we must assume, what policies they should pursue.
It is our hope that the latest DA-Agang disclosure is not a reflection of the role that these parties are playing, complicitly or otherwise, in undermining our constitutionally enshrined right of South Africans to make free political choices and have the freedom of conscience, thought, belief and opinion. It would be particularly concerning if South Africans could not trust that the leadership, views and any other proposals of the DA and Agang were of their own making, derived from the reflection of their conscience and interest in moving South Africa forward; but rather that these parties regurgitate sponsored views of nameless foreign donors.
The continent of Africa is littered with many examples of foreign interests who act as handlers to aspirant political opportunists with the intention to agitate for and institute regime changes; bringing greater instability and strife to the region.
African National Congress
Keith Khoza 0828239672
Khusela Sangoni 0795105408