March: IFP blames provocation, over-zealous police

2008-06-22 00:00

POLICE are investigating cases of looting, theft and malicious damage to property against IFP supporters who went on a rampage in the Durban city centre on Saturday.

There was chaos when people who were part of an IFP-organised march looted shops in the city.

In a related incident, police had to use water cannons to disperse IFP members who were walking from Dalton hostel to the city centre to join other marchers.

Police spokesman Superintendent Vincent Mdunge confirmed that “a few” cases have been opened against some of the marchers, but said no arrests had been made.

Mdunge said it is possible that more people could still come forward to report similar cases.

However, the leadership of the IFP has pleaded ignorance of the alleged incidents.

“We have not received any reports that the marchers had been responsible for such acts. As far as we know the march was very peaceful,” said IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango.

Instead he claimed some of the protesters were attacked.

“Some marchers were pelted with missiles by people in residential flats and other high-rise buildings around the city centre.”

He blamed the Dalton incident on “an overzealous police captain”.

These actions have been strongly condemned by the ANC. Speaking at the close of a provincial ANC conference yesterday, newly-elected ANC provincial chairman Zweli Mkhize expressed shock, while urging police to make quick arrests.

“None of us believed that in this day and age there could be people who are still committed to violent acts of criminality,” Mkhize said.

Mncwango said the ANC was just trying to divert attention from the “real” issue. “I don’t know whether Mkhize’s assessment means that all those who participated in the march are criminals. If all those people were criminals, we would not have the city of Durban today”.

Mncwango vowed that the IFP will continue with protest marches until their demands are met.

The main reason behind the march is the proposed renaming of Mangosuthu highway in Umlazi to Griffiths Mxenge. It was also in protest of a history book, which the IFP says “misrepresents” its leader, Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

bmbanjwa@witness.co.za

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