People are allowed to protest - Mantashe

2016-08-06 21:50
The silent protesters hold up their posters while President Jacob Zuma speaks. (Karabo Ngoepe, News24)

Pretoria - ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe says people are allowed to protest and voice their opinions about anything.

“Everyone has a right to protest,” he said following a silent anti-rape protest during President Jacob Zuma’s speech at the IEC’s results centre in Pretoria on Saturday.

“No one stopped them and it shows you the level of democracy in the country. That shows the extent of freedom in South Africa, that you can even protest when the president is talking.”

The women stood up and help cardboard signs with the words “Remember Khwezi”, “khanga”, “I am 1 in 3” and “10 yrs later” in front of the stage where Zuma was speaking. Security guards snatched their placards away and pushed them out of the hall.

They were referring to Zuma’s rape trial 10 years ago. His accuser was known as Khwezi in the media. Zuma was found not guilty.

The women had been working at the EFF’s desk at the IEC centre during the elections.

“It doesn't complicate anything. That protest is just a protest like any other,” said Mantashe.

IEC deputy chair Terry Tselane apologised to Zuma and said the protest had taken them by surprise. He asked IEC spokesperson Kate Bapela to ensure that journalists did not “exacerbate the situation”.

Read more on: iec  |  jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  local elections 2016