Destruction during protests criminal - ANC
Johannesburg - Destruction of property during protests is a crime, the ANC's secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Sunday.
At a two-day meeting this weekend, the ANC's national executive committee (NEC) discussed numerous protests which have erupted around the country,
"The NEC reaffirmed the right of all citizens to protest. [However,] destruction of property during protests must not only be condemned, but be treated like any criminal act," Mantashe told reporters in Johannesburg afterwards.
"When people are exercising their right, it must always be emphasised that the rights of others must never be infringed upon."
He said the ANC had sent delegations to engage with people in the areas where there were protests.
"ANC deployees at all levels of government must be responsive and communicate with communities more effectively," said Mantashe.
He said the ANC believed that people had genuine grievances.
The ANC would meet with its alliance partner, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Monday to discuss the issue of e-tolling and labour brokers, said Mantashe.
"An attempt will be made to ensure that we are having the same understanding.
"It is important that decisions be respected by parties involved in any exercise," he said.
Cosatu held a nationwide protest against e-tolling and labour brokers two weeks ago.
Earlier this month, the ANC said Cosatu had signed the party's 2009 election manifesto which called for labour brokers to be regulated.
It said the election manifesto stated that the ANC government would introduce laws to regulate contract work, subcontracting and outsourcing, to address the problem of labour broking.
Mantashe said the matter of e-tolling had been on the agenda for over a decade.
"The ANC will... attempt to understand the essence of the unhappiness."
"We are hoping that by the end of the day on Monday, there will be better understanding between the ANC and Cosatu on both matters," he said.
Another issue discussed at the NEC meeting was discipline at the ANC's provincial conferences.
The NEC would be used to instil discipline at upcoming provincial elective conferences, said Mantashe.
"NEC members will avail themselves to oversee and supervise these provincial conference to ensure disciplined conduct of our members and also the success of the conferences," he said.
"The leadership in attendance will ensure non-tolerance of gestures and songs that denigrate the leadership of the ANC."
The Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape and Mpumalanga hold their elective conferences between now and May.
At the ANC's Limpopo conference in December, some members ridiculed President Jacob Zuma labelling him the "shower man".
According to reports, supporters of Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale, who was fighting to retain his position as the party's provincial chair, sang "showara wa re sokodisa" (the shower man is giving us a hard time).
ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, who was at the conference, reportedly sat on stage and joined in the singing, holding his hand over his head to symbolise a shower head.
Mantashe confirmed a report that Justice Minister Jeff Radebe was heading a committee that would investigate allegations that Mathale and his allies had rigged the outcome of the Limpopo conference.
The decision to investigate was made at the ANC's last NEC meeting.
"That team is not reviewing the outcomes of the conference. It's listening to appeals from delegates who are not happy," said Mantashe.
"We do that with all conferences where there are grievances from our members."