Not in the ANC’s name

2014-02-16 14:00

The ANC in Gauteng has distanced itself from four men wearing party T-shirts who were arrested for public violence during the DA’s jobs march on Wednesday.

Sello Sekhokho (30), Nkosinathi Sithebe (26), Robert Ntambo (49) and Joseph Khumalo (29), were arrested after allegedly throwing rocks at DA marchers in the Joburg CBD.

Nkenke Kekana, ANC spokesperson in Gauteng, said the party did not know who the men were and where they came from. “We are trying to find out who they are. They could very well be a bunch of thugs. We are very disappointed that they took advantage of a gathering meant to be peaceful to create drama. We don’t encourage violence. We are a peaceful organisation.”

City Press found a Sello Sekhokho on Facebook who is friends with Johannesburg and Tshwane mayors, Parks Tau and Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

He is also friends with Gauteng Arts and Culture MEC Lebogang Maile and Khusela Sangoni-Khawe, spokesperson for the ANC Women’s League.

It is not clear if the profile belongs to the Sekhokho who was arrested on Wednesday, but the user posted photographs from the march, including a picture of an injured and bleeding white man in a DA T-shirt. The caption Sekhokho had written read: “One mlungu [white person] down.”

Minutes earlier, he had posted a photo with throngs of ANC supporters captioned: “Jouberg (sic) is painted yellow, in our numbers we are here.”

On the day before the march, he posted on his timeline: “De general is ready to defend an protect de anc tomorrow, frm medam an her yes mem (sic) boyfriends.”

In an opinion piece that appears in City Press today, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu offered a look at how the party and the DA apparently tried to negotiate the terms of the march.

In it, he says: “In an engagement with ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, the DA Gauteng leadership agreed that marching to the ANC head office was ill informed and ran the risk of inciting ANC members and supporters to defend the organisation’s headquarters, Chief Albert Luthuli House.”

But the DA’s spokesperson, Mike Moriarty, gave a different version, saying that he was tasked by his party to call and tell the ANC about the planned march early in January.

“When I spoke to [Mantashe], he asked me what exactly it was that we wanted to do. When I told him that we wanted to march and submit a memorandum, he told me the ANC was also going to respond by marching to our offices,” Moriarty said.

Moriarty added that Mantashe called him back a few days later to inform him that the ANC had decided it would no longer march to the DA’s offices. “He told me they would have a mass of people to welcome us at Luthuli House.”

The “welcome” included bricks and petrol bombs and the DA march had to turn back before reaching Luthuli House.

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