Zuma blames 'anarchists, agent provocateurs' for violent protests

2016-05-31 12:32
President Jacob Zuma. (File, City Press)

President Jacob Zuma. (File, City Press)

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Cape Town - There is no justification for the burning of schools and property, ANC President Jacob Zuma has said.

Placing the blame squarely on "relatively small bands of anarchists and agent provocateurs", Zuma called for the ANC to remain vigilant and relentless in improving its capacity to lead better and wisely.

Zuma said the country had witnessed an increase in mass protests over the last year. Too many had been accompanied by violence and destruction of property, he said.

He again condemned the burning down of schools and property.

"We have said and must say, loudly and consistently, that in a constitutional state there is absolutely no justification for such behaviour. Acts such as burning down schools, factories, buses, libraries, and blockading roads as we have seen in Vuwani and various universities, are condemned without equivocation," said Zuma.

He called for the party to be careful that the discontent was not inspired by the party's actions and "failure to act in the interest of our people".

More than meets the eye in protests

"We should be the first to know when there is brewing discontent in the population that the enemies of democracy will exploit to reverse the gains of the national democratic revolution."

There was more than met the eye in the protests, Zuma said.

"The burning of schools in Vuwani is not the act of angry residents even when it may be in their name. Similarly the wanton destruction of facilities at various universities is more than just acts of anger and frustration of the students," he said.

Zuma called for unity within the party in the build-up to the local government elections.

In a letter published in the ANC Today newsletter, Zuma called for branches, the alliance, election teams and all branch levels to speak with one voice.

"We must not be demoralised by the negative narratives around us. We should remain focused on building the organisation and uniting the movement and our people behind building a strong and responsive local government system," said Zuma.

Needs of communities

The president said the party was at its strongest when it was at the head of the united mass action "for social emancipation and development".

The party was ready to head to the polls come August 3, he said.

"We state without fear of contradiction, that the ANC is the primary vehicle, and in fact, also the only vehicle that can lead our people in the struggle to determine and build their own destiny, and improve the quality of their lives. 

The elections would provide an opportunity for the party to strengthen its ties with the people more than it has ever done, he said. 

The party had an urgent responsibility to acknowledge and address the needs of communities, Zuma said in the newsletter.

"Our ever more urgent task is to take and implement all measures to address social distress that results from extreme poverty and high levels of unemployment. These, if unattended to, become the fertile base for anarchic forces and criminal elements in our society," he said.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  protests

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