Zuma condemns DA-Cosatu violence

2012-05-17 06:41

President Jacob Zuma has condemned the violence that erupted during the DA’s march on Cosatu House on Tuesday.

Speaking out about the matter for the first time this morning, Zuma told an audience at a breakfast sponsored by The New Age and SABC Morning Live in Bloemfontein “people have a constitutional right to express themselves”.

But he added this right should not interfere with other people’s rights to get on with their business peacefully.

“It is also not acceptable that you become violent when people have a different view from yourself,” he said.

Zuma said South Africa was a country “born out of negotiation” and we have in the past been able to resolve our differences through discussion.

“You can’t produce a solution by fighting people who disagree with you,” he said, condemning the violence.

“Both sides are wrong, you don’t do it.”

He said the protests should have been allowed to take its course and the DA should have been allowed to hand over its memorandum to Cosatu.

Violence erupted on Tuesday when DA marchers clashed with people in Cosatu T-shirts who gathered illegally around Cosatu House in Johannesburg.

The DA marched to demand that the government’s youth wage subsidy be implemented more quickly.

Zuma said the issue was being attended to in Nedlac, which has been discussing the implementation of the youth wage subsidy since May last year.

He added that he himself spoke on the issue during his State of the Nation address last year and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan has also announced the subsidy. R5 billion has been set aside for it.

“Under normal circumstances you would say there is no need for any protests, but of course if you want to have a protest to say hurry up, then you have the right,” he said.

Dr Mamphela Ramphele yesterday warned against creating “no-go” zones by using violence when there are disagreements.

Ramphele, founder of the Citizens Movement for Social Change, told City Press that Cosatu House is a public space and the DA should have been allowed to march there.

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