Violence at Mashaba’s IDP summit shows political immaturity, says analyst
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said nowadays opposition parties opted to use disruptions as a method of engagement.
A leading political expert has blamed the ongoing disruptions of council activities in the DA-controlled Johannesburg and Tshwane metros by people aligned to the opposition ANC to a growing trend of political intolerance in which disruptions are used to frustrate opponents.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says unless both parties to the conflict commit to finding amicable solutions to their differences, the situation is bound to escalate.
“We are in an era in which disruptions have been chosen as a method of engagements by some opposition parties. The EFF does this in parliament where it’s in opposition, while the ANC is doing the same in municipalities where it’s in opposition,” Mathekga said.
Mathekga’s argument came as Joburg City mayor Herman Mashaba appealed to ANC provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile to intervene to restrain his party members he claimed were responsible for the violence. Johannesburg and Tshwane metros were reeling from bloody disruptions of their meetings in which people, including councillors, were injured.
Mashaba has blamed the opposition ANC councillors for the violent disruption of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) summit that was held at Midrand High School on Tuesday night.
Several people were injured in the chaos, including an EFF member, who suffered a gash to his head, as well as the DA chairperson of Ward 112, Andrew Osmond, who suffered a concussion after he was hit with a brick on the back of his head.
The metro police were called to restore law and order at the hall as the crowd smashed school windows and broke doors.
The JMPD removed the crowd, which many said were ANC members and members of the Johannesburg Social Movement. The meeting, attended by councillors from various political parties, was called by council Speaker Vasco da Gama, to get residents’ inputs on the council IDP programme.
“Disgracefully, this attack on our democracy was led by ANC Councillors in the City of Joburg. The City of Joburg is left with no option but to lay criminal charges against ANC councillors who were leading this assault on our democracy and fuelling the violence,” Mashaba said.
“The police will be provided with footage of the attack and we will ensure those involved face criminal prosecution,” he said.
Mathekga said violence also showed a shared culture of disruptions which emanates from the youth league and has been adopted by the ANC.
“It shows lack of maturity regarding the nature and methods of engagement in our politics.”
But both the ANC Gauteng and ANC Greater Johannesburg condemned the violence. Regional spokesperson Jolidee Matongo said the party mobilised communities to participate in the IDP process. He said no ANC member incited violence in the meeting, but DA and EFF members were responsible for the disruption.
Party Gauteng spokesperson Sam Modiba criticised Mashaba for “selective condemnation” of the disruption. “We will not hesitate to take disciplinary actions where members of the ANC are implicated and are found guilty of acts of violence,” Modiba said.