Violent protest was uncalled for - ANC
Johannesburg - A violent protest outside the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg last week was uncalled for, the ruling party's national working committee said on Monday.
At its regular meeting on organisational issues, it concluded that the protest was "calculated" to undermine the ANC's internal organisational processes to uphold disciplined conduct of its members, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said.
"The meeting agreed that the protest was used for ill-disciplined purposes and it flies against good and reputable conduct inside the organisation," he said.
Rioters thronged Johannesburg's city centre last Tuesday, ahead of the appearance of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and five members of his executive before the ANC's disciplinary committee.
The youths hurled broken bricks at police and journalists, burned a T-shirt bearing a picture of President Jacob Zuma, who is also president of the ANC, and burned an ANC flag.
Rubber bullets and teargas were fired several times during the day at Malema supporters, who broke off pieces of concrete barriers, cut through yellow tape used to close off streets and set dustbins alight.
Shops closed their doors after rioters banged on windows and threw pieces of glass at them. Several banks in the city closed early.
Windows of some buildings in the area were smashed by stone-throwers.
The NWC condemned the protest and its organisers for "exposing the organisation negatively".
"The meeting concluded that such behaviour should not be tolerated in the organisation and should be condemned unconditionally," said Mantashe.
The NWC also condemned the burning of the image of Zuma and of the ANC's flag.
"This was viewed as totally un-ANC and a breach of everything that the ANC stands for," said Mantashe.
"The NWC further called for action to be taken against those who are implicated in acts of violence and criminality," he said.
Earlier on Monday, the DA said it had laid a charge of incitement to violence against Limpopo ANC Youth League secretary Jacob Lebogo, who had been identified as an alleged ring-leader of the protest.
"Damage to public property is estimated to run in the millions and the devastating knock the economy of the CBD took due to the disruption of business cannot be left unchallenged," said DA Gauteng spokesperson John Moodey.
Malema and ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu have been brought before the ANC's disciplinary committee for comments about Botswana.
Malema recently 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".
ANCYL deputy president Ronald Lamola, secretary general Sindiso Magaqa, his deputy Kenetswe Mosenogi, and treasurer general Pule Mabe also face disciplinary hearings.
They have been charged with deliberately disrupting meetings and interfering with the orderly functioning of the organisation, and prejudicing the integrity or repute of ANC, its personnel or its operational capacity.