We will not call the police … we will do whatever it takes to protect Luthuli House (ANC headquarters), should the need arise.
That was the strong message from leader of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) Kebby Maphatsoe.
Speaking to The Citizen late Thursday, Maphatsoe said while the ANC was preparing for the upcoming policy conference, they did not want their work to be interrupted.
“No one must come and march near Luthuli House … go elsewhere. If the marchers become a threat to Luthuli House, we will not call the police, but our MKMVA members will do whatever it takes to protect our revolutionary house,” Maphatsoe said.
He stressed that anyone who wanted to march against President Jacob Zuma should go to the Union Buildings.
Maphatsoe would not say if the MKMVA members would be armed but said they were not promoting violence and would only act against anyone provoking them.
About 600 MKMVA soldiers would be deployed to the ANC headquarters, but Maphatsoe said he was not sure about the total number, adding that different branches were dealing with logistics.
Meanwhile, Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said motorists should avoid Anderson, Marshall and Henry Nxumalo streets between 10am and 2pm today due to the march.
“We are expecting only one march organised by the Democratic Alliance, which will commence at 10am from the Westgate transport hub and proceed along Henry Nxumalo Street towards Mary Fitzgerald Square.
“We expect everyone who will be taking part in the march to comply with all the rules and work with their marshals and the police … we will not tolerate any violence and damage to property,” Minnaar said.
His counterpart from Tshwane metro police, Isaac Mahamba, said they received two applications to march, from the Save SA organisation, as well as the SA Communist Party (SACP).
Just before lunchtime, Mahamba said both Save SA and the SACP had not met the requirements to march as requested by the 205 cluster.
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said his party would peacefully march for change in Johannesburg Friday.
“I have spoken with acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane to assure him the DA will conduct itself in a peaceful and democratic manner.
“Furthermore, I stressed upon him the need to ensure that his officers on the ground protect and uphold the rights of peaceful marchers, and arrest those who seek to undermine those rights,” Maimane said.
Trade union federation Cosatu, on the other hand, called on its members not to take part in the march organised by Save SA.
In a statement, Cosatu said it was not confused about “who our enemies are, and in everything we do, we will be guided by our class interests”.
“We will never march with the agents of monopoly capital to remove a democratically elected government.
“We refuse to be useful idiots of those who want to remove President Zuma in order to remove the ANC from power and protect their ill-gotten wealth and inherited privileges … We do not support the regime change agenda.”
The SACP said it would hold a march to National Treasury as part of its Financial Sector Campaign (FSC) and the fight against corporate capture of the state, corruption and parasitic looting of the state.
Meanwhile, social activist Mark Heywood said it would be unlawful for authorities to stop Section 27 from marching on the Union Buildings today.
“We must emphasise that this is a legal demonstration,” he said. “A people united will never be defeated.”