The ‘Real Job’ protest was a march put together by Helen Zille and the DA to point out to the government that new and plausible jobs need to be created for its citizens.
The DA march was meant to make it to Beyers Naudé Square where they were to hand over a memorandum to the ANC but this was not to be. They were ambushed by ANC member brandishing bricks and petrol bombs as they approached Rissik Street in the Johannesburg CBD.
This behaviour by the ruling party of South Africa is worrying. It is raucous, uncalled for and unfortunately not uncommon. The DA was marching in a peaceful manner as an attempt to make our South Africa a better place. However the ANC made every attempt to quell it in the most undemocratic way. Every person, political party, group and so forth have the right to freedom of expression and the right to freedom of speech in what is deemed a democratic country.
Yesterday’s actions put a large question mark on the ANC’s definition of democracy. In some instances behaviour like this can be described as almost bordering on autocratic ideals.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, the word ‘autocratic’ can be defined as “taking no account of other people’s wishes or opinions”, “domineering” and “controlling.”
Each of these definitions reared their ugly head at the DA March. By making every attempt to stop this march, ANC members took no account of other people’s wishes or opinions. Their behaviour toward the DA members was domineering because they intimidated the marchers with petrol bombs and bricks and finally they acted in a controlling manner by not allowing the march to reach Beyers Naudé Square.
Members of the ANC in all factions are seen as representatives of the government just as I am seen as a representative of my parents, university or school. If I behave badly, it is a reflection on those who I embody and moreover those I represent.
If the South African government want to encourage new supporters to join them and become a part of the ANC, allowing this type of violence to take place at a peaceful march will not do the job. This will achieve the opposite – push new members and those ‘sitting on the fence’ toward other political factions and parties. Yesterday’s events show how the ANC have clearly shot themselves in the foot. If they want to gain new followers and start making a difference to their current PR (public relations), this “my way or the highway” mentality needs to take a drastic change. The first step toward this is to stop denying and start trying - admit your mistakes and start afresh.
With elections on the horizons we, as South African have to wonder about what we truly want for this country and moreover where we see ourselves twenty years from now. If the DA or a different political party were to win a new city, province or the like; would ANC members wage war on both the members and supporters of the political party in question?
For what happened at the march may in some opinions be seen as a microcosm for the future of this country.