Sasco condemns youth riots
Johannesburg - The SA Students’ Congress and the Eastern Cape ANC on Wednesday condemned the violent behaviour by ANC Youth League supporters in Johannesburg while their leaders were facing disciplinary charges.
"We are extremely angered by the reported sexual harassment and assault on a female journalist by these hooligans who purport to be ANCYL members," Sasco president Mbulelo Mandlana said outside Luthuli House.
"We call on the ANCYL not just to distance itself but to act decisively against those within its ranks who committed this sexual assault... and those who trashed equipment," he said.
Supporters of youth league president Julius Malema were marching, whistling and blowing vuvuzelas outside the ANC's headquarters on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, rioters trashed Johannesburg's streets on Tuesday and attacked journalists and police officers, several of whom were hit by rocks, while women journalists reported being groped.
The ANC in the Eastern Cape also "strongly condemned the regrettable acts of hooliganism".
"We are utterly dismayed by the burning of the ANC flags, T-shirts and posters bearing the face of the president. We request the NEC [national executive committee] to spare no effort in identifying these culprits and they must face the full might of our disciplinary processes," said provincial spokesperson Mlibo Qoboshiyane in a statement.
Take full responsibility
"It is our view that those who have taken the responsibility to mobilise and bus crowds to gather outside Luthuli House - the leadership of the ANC Youth League - should also take full responsibility for the violence, criminality and ill-discipline that has accompanied these crowds."
On Wednesday, supporters, including some children, were singing and dancing and carrying posters saying, "Hands off our youth league president".
Other placards read: "Juju fever", and: "Juju never said let's bomb Botswana like imperialists from Libya or Iraq".
Besides one who was holding a wooden machine gun and pointing it at the police, no one else could be seen carrying sticks or throwing objects.
Police had set up barbed wire in the streets around Beyers Naude Square.
Journalists stayed behind the barbed wire alongside police officers in riot gear.
Malema urged his supporters on Tuesday afternoon to refrain from attacking the media and police.
On Wednesday, several supporters were wearing T-shirts portraying the face of ousted president Thabo Mbeki, who was removed from office a few months after Zuma became leader of the African National Congress.
Strewn with litter
Stones in the streets had been moved to the sides of the roads around the ANC headquarters at Luthuli House but Beyers Naude Square was still strewn with litter and empty beer bottles.
Police officials said their colleague who was hit by a rock on Tuesday had received stitches in hospital and was back on duty on Wednesday.
Most businesses were open again after closing their doors on Tuesday.
The ANC initially said the hearing would be moved to a different venue, but spokesperson Jackson Mthembu on Wednesday morning said it would continue at Luthuli House.
"The hearing will be held at Luthuli House. However if the situation does not improve from Tuesday, it will be moved to an alternative venue," Mthembu said.
"The national disciplinary committee would make the final decision when or if to move venues."
Malema, league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu, deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi, and treasurer general Pule Mabe face charges of bringing the ANC into disrepute and sowing divisions in ANC ranks.
This was after Malema said the ANCYL would send a team to Botswana to consolidate local opposition parties and help bring about regime change, as it believed the government there was "in full co-operation with imperialists" and was undermining the "African agenda".
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said the hearing would continue despite the violence.
Business Day reported that Malema suffered a setback at the start after failing in a bid to have the ANC members conducting the hearing recused.