Desperate ANC is behind protests – DA leader Maimane
He said the ANC orchestrated the violence in order to weaken the DA and render its cities ungovernable.
Police are seen during a protest in Pretoria West where residents from the Gomora township took to the streets to protest service delivery, 11 April 2019, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles
Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane is convinced the ANC is behind the violent service protests that have flared up in all the DA-run metros, because the party is desperate and wants to weaken the official opposition and render cities under its rule ungovernable.
Maimane also asked for the intervention of police commissioner General Khehla Sitole to address the situation.
He said the governing ANC was desperate because it faced a clear prospect of losing Gauteng and the Northern Cape to the DA after the May 8 election.
Maimane blamed President Cyril Ramaphosa for failing to take action to quell the violent protests that flared in the DA-run cities of Tshwane, Johannesburg and Cape Town since last week. These protests intensified in Cape Town and townships north of Tshwane yesterday.
He said the ANC orchestrated the violence in order to weaken the DA and to render its cities ungovernable, but that his party wouldn’t be deterred.
Residents fought running battles with police in Hammanskraal, Soshanguve, Mabopane, Temba and Lotus Gardens. Police used rubber bullets to disperse crowds that threw stones and other missiles at them.
Similar action continued in Cape Town, while residents of Alexandra in Johannesburg held talks with the ANC Gauteng leadership and Premier David Makhura.
Alexandra residents last week demanded that City of Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba come and address them.
Mashaba and DA Gauteng premier-candidate Solly Msimanga accused the ANC of engineering the protest, with the latter laying criminal charges against the ANC for violence.
Maimane said: “With the very real possibility of electoral defeat in key parts of the country on May 8, the ANC has now resorted to desperate, violent, and destructive tactics that threaten to burn South Africa to the ground.
“From Alexandra in Johannesburg to Tshwane, to now parts of Cape Town, the ANC is orchestrating violent protests in a desperate attempt to render DA-run cities ungovernable, and to shift attention away from its failure in government over the past 25 years.”
Meanwhile, political analyst Steven Friedman said such protests were not new as there had been a consistent high level of protest in the country for decades, but most of them were not noticed.
Friedman said hotspot cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane and Cape Town were not the only ones experiencing protests.
“They are the only ones which are noticed.
“Second, if Mashaba is justified in blaming his administration’s failures on the ANC, which governed for 23 years, then the ANC is justified in blaming apartheid, which governed for 46 years and white minority rule, which governed for more than 100 years.”
Maimane lashed out at Ramaphosa for failing to act to quell the protests, saying this illustrated his “complete inability to lead the country”.
“The failure by the president to call his own party to order shows that he is not in control of the ANC, but the ANC controls him,” he said. “The president continues to operate in a bubble, while the likes of [Deputy President David] Mabuza, [ANC elections head Fikile] Mbalula and [secretary-general Ace] Magashule run the show.”
Maimane has asked for an urgent meeting with Sitole over the ongoing violence and to discuss how police planned to restore law and order in the area.
“The SA Police Service must immediately institute a plan to halt the ANC’s objective of inciting violence and turning communities into war zones,” Maimane said.