Tuesday, June 21, 2016

South African Local Elections Violence Continues in Tshwane
June 21, 2016
Thupeyo Muleya
Beitbridge Bureau
Zimbabwe Herald

At least 21 Zimbabweans travelling to Johannesburg, South Africa were attacked and robbed of their valuables by violent protesters some 40km out of Pretoria along the N1 Highway on Tuesday morning.

The protesters also burnt to a shell the Eagle Liner bus the Zimbabweans were travelling in after stripping the helpless passengers of their valuables.

Eagle Liner proprietor Mr Dhalib Ishemeal said the victims had taken refuge at Hammanskraal police station since the situation was still volatile.

“All the 21 passengers are safe. It’s still volatile, we are yet to get to the ground. We are waiting for the police to calm the situation.

“We also heard that there was another bus from another company which was burnt down as well. This is very unfortunate,” said Mr Ishemeal.

Sources in Pretoria said haulage trucks and other vehicles which use the same route were burnt near Zebediela.

“The situation is still tense and a lot of vehicles were burnt as residents blocked roads with burning tyres,”said the source.

It is understood that residents of Tshwane took to the streets protesting a decision by the ANC to name Thoko Didiza as the party’s mayoral candidate in the forthcoming local government elections.

ANCYL condemns Tshwane violence

Iavan Pijoos, News24
2016-06-21 14:31

Pretoria - The ANC Youth League on Tuesday condemned ongoing violent protests over the ANC's mayoral candidate in Tshwane, saying the ANC resolved problems through dialogue.

Regional ANCYL secretary Ratshi Mashamba said: "The main reason for this violent protest is the announcement of the mayoral candidate on Monday. We are hoping to get this resolved by the end of the day," Mashamba said.

The township of Atteridgeville in Tshwane is on lockdown after ANC members began protesting late on Monday night to force the party to change its decision of naming Thoko Didiza as its mayoral candidate, pushing aside Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

At least ten buses were set alight on Monday night and City of Tshwane work teams had to be withdrawn from the areas for their safety.

Earlier on Tuesday, a truck and a bus were set alight with regular explosions heard all over the area as the tyres and petrol tanks exploded.

Mashamba said they accepted Didiza as the mayoral candidate.

"All the structures in Tshwane are going to rally behind the mayoral candidate and support the ANC in the election process," he said.

The ANCYL‚ ANC Women's League‚ ANC Veterans' League‚ Congress of South African Trade Unions‚ South African Communist Party and the South African National Civic Organisation were supposed to hold a press conference on Tuesday morning, but it was cancelled.

Mashamba said they could not meet with media if the situation on the ground was not stable.

"There are challenges in the region that need to be resolved by the leadership on the ground. We need to protect the safety of journalists," he said.

SABC making sure South Africans do not know what is going on in SA

Business Day Live
JUNE 21 2016, 16:03

AS THE City of Tshwane has gone up in flames this week, the SABC’s news coverage of the protests has been found wanting.

On Monday night at least 20 buses were torched in Tshwane and on Tuesday morning violence continued with police reinforcements called in to establish calm in Mamelodi, Atteridgeville, Garunkuwa and Hammanskraal.

No footage of violent scenes was shown on SABC News outlets, but it did report on the protests unfolding in the capital on Tuesday.

In May, the SABC’s chief operating officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, said the public broadcaster would no longer air footage of violent protests, in a move to discourage the destruction of property — something that has not been well-received by civil organisations and the public.

On Tuesday morning Twitter was flooded with posts criticising the public broadcaster’s coverage.

Journalist Ferial Haffajee said on Monday night that the broadcaster aired a rugby story on its 24-hour news channel as Tshwane burnt. "Nothing on SABC 1, 2 and 3 which are the really important channels. Maybe it’s a resource issue. Or skills to do lives. #TshwaneProtests," she tweeted.

On Tuesday morning anthropologist and social activist Ulrich J van Vuuren wrote that the SABC had opted to air scenes of the capital’s famous jacaranda trees and not its burning streets.

A snapshot of SABC’s news streams showed the following:

• At the time of publication, the SABC Digital News YouTube channel had posted four videos on Tuesday relating to the Tshwane protests, none of which showed any scenes of violence or buses burning.

• In one report, an SABC journalist made reference to "criminal elements" in an interview with a police official. In another video, the SABC asked its viewers what the penalty should be for burning public infrastructure before interviewing a spokesperson from bus company Putco to ascertain the situation, following the torching of buses in Mamelodi.

• Meanwhile, the Morning Live breakfast show aired on SABC2 had not tweeted anything on the Tshwane protests on Tuesday. Its most recent post by Tuesday afternoon on Twitter was a report on a Free State chocolate business tapping into the Russian market on Monday.

• SABC3’s Espresso Morning Show, which features mostly lifestyle and entertainment news, ran stories on the art of fencing, the psychological consequences of "Fomo" (fear of missing out) and sushi making, according to its Facebook page.

The BBC, the British public broadcaster, on Tuesday covered the protests in Tshwane, showing an image of plumes of smoke rising over the city and another of a burnt wreckage on a road.

DA spokesperson Phumzile van Damme said it was appalling that the public broadcaster was not showing South Africans what was going on in SA.

"It is not enough to cover it without showing the footage … South Africans are not getting a full picture of what is going on … South Africans need to know exactly what is going on in their capital city," she said.

Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird said the SABC’s current coverage of the protest in Tshwane was evidence of the effect of a "dangerous and profoundly offensive decision".

Bird said through its coverage on Monday night, the SABC first ignored the story, and then covered it without showing any images relating to it. He said the SABC should have offered more in-depth coverage.

"Why are our people so violent over a mayoral candidate? … And who are these people … challenging the statement … of the ANC that this is just criminal violence? That is what we should be expecting from our public broadcaster, the fact that we aren’t getting that shows exactly the kind of problem these kind of censorship decisions lead to," Bird said.

Bird said there was a legitimate concern over showing violent images, but this is something that dealt with on a case-by-case basis, rather than a blanket ban.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said he had not seen the criticism of the broadcaster’s coverage of the situation in Tshwane and said it was covering the protests.

"We are only not airing footage of people destroying property. We are taking a stand (against this).

When asked if the SABC’s decision not to cover this element of the protests was doing viewers a disservice Kganyago simply said, "no."

The SABC now reaches more than 20-million South Africans through 19 radio stations and three television stations.

On Wednesday the SABC must provide the Independent Communications Authority of SA with reasons for its censoring of television news in the run-up to the August municipal elections.

Ramaphosa worried about 'tribalistic tones' in Tshwane protests

Carien du Plessis
News24 Correspondent
2016-06-21 16:30

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has cautioned against tribalism in the wake of the violence that erupted in the Tshwane metro.

Protesters unhappy about the ANC's nomination of former minister Thoko Didiza as mayoral candidate have set fire to buildings and overturned vehicles in and around Tshwane since Monday.

"We are very, very concerned that this whole problem is beginning to acquire tribalistic type of tones, where it is suggested that someone who was born in another province, but lives in a city, in a metro like Pretoria, should not be the mayoral candidate of Tshwane," he said.

"Now this goes against the values that we always sought to embrace as a people and as a nation.

"We say let us uphold our values that are deeply embedded in our Constitution. Let us practice them because it is important that we as South Africans act as one and be truly non-racial and be truly democratic in everything that we do," he said.

Didiza was born in KwaZulu-Natal, one of the things some protesters have taken issue with.

Army won't be sent in

Ramaphosa said there was "deep concern" about the reports and images "of the destruction of vehicles and the attack on government facilities".

He said: "We want to call on our people here in Tshwane, the various structures that we have… violence is not a way of addressing problems. If there are problems, you need to sit down and discuss the problems. We condemn acts of violence in the strongest terms."

He said, despite rumours that the army could be called in to quell the situation, there was no talk of that.

"We believe that the situation can be contained and we currently [have] a lot of structures – political structures – that are busy talking to our people, addressing our people to calm down and we hope that this will be a process that will bear fruit.

"Our people are not violent by nature and we're hoping that as the [talks and meetings] happen, and as the leaders address this problem with our people, there will be a sense of calm."

Ramaphosa, who was addressing journalists after a meeting of the presidential working group on labour, said he did not believe the violence would affect investor confidence negatively.

"This is a process of people exercising their democratic rights, but obviously we want people to protest without resorting to violence."

Call for calm

"We are hoping this situation will be brought under control fairly soon so that we can move on," he said.

Ramaphosa said he believed the situation would quieten down before the local government elections on August 3 and that they would proceed as planned.

By then he said he hoped "our people will have a better understanding on the reasons and need to deploy a person like Thoko Didiza as a mayoral candidate of a place like Tswhane and they will calm down and be disciplined and we will have this matter resolved in the end".

He called on people to "stay calm to desist from violence" and not be tempted to perpetrate it.

"We say to you, the security forces in our country, the police, is on hand to make sure that you do not perpetrate violence against anyone, and if you do perpetrate acts of violence, you're violating the rights of other people, and you shall be arrested."

Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa tries to calm rioting communities

Business Day Live
JUNE 21 2016, 18:45

INCUMBENT Tshwane mayor Kgosientso ‘Sputla’ Ramokgopa on Tuesday sought to calm ANC supporters who want him to retain the job, despite the party leadership not accepting his nomination for the upcoming municipal elections.

Ramokgopa’s deputy Mapiti Matsena also tried to rally party members behind the ruling party’s choice of candidate, Thoko Didiza.

Ramokgopa spoke to members of the ANC in Atteridgeville accompanied by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. But he received stunning resistance from residents, who shouted "No Sputla. No vote", when he asked them to accept Didiza as the ANC’s candidate.

Ramokgopa had been expected to move to other affected areas and be joined by Gauteng Premier David Makhura.

The outgoing mayor‚ was one of three people nominated by ANC branches in the region‚ only to be replaced by Didiza, who was selected by the party’s national leadership.

Although Didiza resides in the capital‚ ’Sputla’ supporters have latched onto the fact that she originally hails from Durban, deriding her as an outsider.

Businesses in the city centre, fearful of being caught up in the ANC infighting, started closing at lunchtime on Tuesday as violence spread through Tshwane’s biggest townships including Hammanskraal‚ Soshanguve and Atteridgeville.

Trucks and buses were set alight and roads blocked. Traffic piled up on the main route towards Rustenburg as the highway had to be unblocked by police who cleared a truck and a bus which were left in flames on the road.

As fear swept through the capital‚ banks as well as major retailers like Pick n Pay and Shoprite started closing earlier than usual as a precautionary measure.

For the past few hours‚ there has been no formal communication from the police but the justice cluster was expected to brief the media at 4pm.

On Monday‚ Ramokgopa toed the party line by throwing his support behind Didiza‚ who would take over from him if the party retains its hold on the municipality in the local government polls.

Didiza’s candidature was officially announced on Monday morning following a consensus reached by ANC leaders in the Gauteng and the Tshwane regional leadership.

The ANC announced its list of mayoral candidates at the weekend‚ except for Tshwane. The party’s regional executive committee (REC) had tabled three names for the city‚ but the provincial executive committee (PEC) was not convinced. Didiza was a compromise candidate.

Ramokgopa‚ who is also the ANC’s Tshwane chairman‚ was on the party’s candidate list for the August 3 elections‚ but was not one of the names submitted for mayoral candidate.

His deputy in the region‚ Mapiti Matsena‚ was one of the three names submitted by the REC for Tshwane mayor‚ but rejected by the PEC.

Ramokgopa said the region was "unanimous and enthusiastically" behind Didiza.

"It’s going to be our singular and collective business to ensure the ANC retains the municipality and that comrade Thoko is given an opportunity to thrive‚" he said.

"At a political level we will make sure we provide the necessary infrastructure to allow for conditions for her to thrive."

Ramokgopa is due to return to the Tshwane executive as a councillor in the new administration should the ANC retain the metro.

Matsena‚ meanwhile‚ claimed that the rioting people in Tshwane were not members of the ANC.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702‚ Matsena said members of the ANC understood the decision-making process of the party and would not embark on violent protests as was happening.

"Those who are saying they are against the decision of the NEC are not members of the ANC. ANC members understand that the decision for the appointment of mayoral candidate is a separate decision from the nomination of councillors. The PEC [provincial executive committee] said because there are people who are strong saying we want Mapiti to be the mayor and others say the incumbent should continue‚ then the NEC together with the PEC appointed Thoko Didiza. She is a resident of Tshwane and an activist in Tshwane‚" Matsena said.

Matsena added that the public should not take ordinary supporters of the ANC as members of the party and he called for people to respect the decision of the NEC.

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