The ANC Gauteng condemns violent protests and ongoing disruption of schools in Gauteng Province!, 7 September 2011

The PEC held its ordinary meeting on 27th August 2011 to deliberate on various political and organizational matters. The meeting expressed grave concerns on the planned action by the ANCYL structures to protest outside Luthuli House during the disciplinary hearing that was going to start on 30th August 2011.

The key principle that informed the PEC`s concerns was the emerging tendency and practice among certain ANC members, across the country, to resort to violent protests, disruption of ANC meetings, forceful occupation and burning down of ANC offices and symbols to challenge organisational decisions and processes.

This tendency and alien practice reach unprecedented levels during the candidate selection process and in the run-up to conferences. Last week`s violence outside Luthuli House is part of this dangerous trend.

It is against this background that we strongly condemn the violence and anarchy that took place outside Luthuli House last week. Both the protest and violence associated with it could have been prevented within the organization. At all levels, the ANC leadership needs to be consistent and decisive in dealing with these corrosive practices, without fear or favour.

The ANC Gauteng provincial leadership is also concerned about the fact that the Johannesburg CBD is brought to a standstill too many times in a month by illegal marches and violent protests by civil society organizations and some trade unions have no respect for rule of law.

Going forward, the law-enforcement agencies such as SAPS and JMPD should clamp down on illegal and violent protests and ensure that only those who have applied for permission are allowed to protest peacefully in designated areas so that there is no disruption of the City`s economy, government and general life. While the right to peaceful protest should be protected, the laws of the land should be enforced in order to protect the interests of all citizens.

On violent community protests in different communities

The ANC Gauteng provincial leadership has noted with concern the increasing number of violent community protests that take place in the name of service delivery protests. The most recent cases all took place after the local government elections - Zandspruit, Chiawelo and lately Thembelihle.

The PEC would like to reiterate that violent protests are completely intolerable and inexcusable in a democratic society. These protests are often characterised by destruction of community facilities, attack on councilors, blocking of roads and large-scale disruption of schooling in affected communities. These blatant acts of criminality often undermine the genuine concerns raised by communities on real issues such as access to housing, water and affordable electricity.

We call on the state security agencies to bring the perpetrators of this violence and anarchy to book because they are known to the authority and members of the community. Most of these perpetrators benefit handsomely from the lawlessness that is rife when there are so-called service delivery protests.

The PEC has just completed a three-week interaction with ANC local structures and activists on various social and economic issues affecting communities across the province. The common storyline emerging from different communities is the high rate of unemployment, increasing rate of urban poverty, high cost of food, electricity, high rate of social crimes affecting women and children, devastating impact of HIV/AIDS, the demise of township economy. We have directed all the local and regional structures to work together with all ANC-governed municipalities and provincial departments to focus on these core issues affecting our communities.

We have sent a strong message to all ANC members that anyone who participates in violent protests and other acts of anarchy and ill-discipline will face the full might of the organization.

Disruption of schooling is a crime against the people

The ANC Gauteng provincial leadership is also concerned about the ongoing disruption of schooling whenever there are community protests or industrial action. This undermines all our efforts to make education a societal concern and the number one priority of our nation.

Since 30th August 2011, we have witnessed sporadic disruption of schools in the province. The areas affected are Soweto (especially Meadowlands), Cosmo City and Thembelihle informal settlement. Certain elements within the unions, student organisations and school governing bodies are involved in denying our children an opportunity to learn. Given the challenges we face in regarding the low levels of literacy, numeracy and skills in our society, the disruption of the education of our children is a crime against our people, especially the poor.

The ANC is prepared to mobilise all sectors of society and education stakeholders in Gauteng to protect the right of our children to quality education in the spirit of the 2010 Soweto Education Summit. We are engaging COSATU public sector unions, COSAS and other community-based organisations to normalize the teaching and learning environment so that we can achieve meaningful teaching and learning in all schools in Gauteng, especially in the townships.

We are determined to ensure that Gauteng province continues to be the top performing province in education. For this reason, our structures on the ground are working with communities to isolate and politically defeat all the forces of darkness who don`t want the children of the poor to be enlightened and break the generational cycle of poverty.

Midvaal corruption investigation report is long overdue

In 2009, the residents of Midvaal lodged complaints and raised serious allegations of corruption in the Midvaal municipality. The complaints were referred to the relevant state agencies in November 2009 for investigation.

The PEC is perturbed that the investigation has taken so long to complete. We have noted that the DA is misleading the public by saying that the SIU has cleared the municipality of any corruption. The DA administration will not succeed in its effort to try and discredit those who have their corrupt practices and maladministration in Midvaal into the open.

We call on the relevant state authorities to make the report public so that the illegal land transactions and scam involving the municipality and its lawyers can come out into the open for public scrutiny.

On the preparations for Regional Conferences

There are four regional conferences that will take place during the month of September 2011 Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane and West Rand. The dates of the Regional Conferences are follows:

  • Ekurhuleni: 16 - 18 September 2011
  • West Rand : 16 - 18 September 2011
  • Johannesburg: 23 - 25 September 2011
  • Tshwane: 23 - 25 September 2011

The Regional Conferences are taking place soon after local government elections. They are therefore a platform to get the ANC in each region to work out a detailed roadmap on the implementation of the ANC local government manifesto. The PEC is determined to ensure the stability of local government, so that municipalities can address the service delivery challenges and development backlogs facing our communities.

The PEC has reaffirmed the decision taken at the Provincial General Council of June 2011 that elections in the regional conferences should not disrupt and destabilise the functioning of municipalities. In this regard, we reiterate the position that the regional conference elections will not result in changes in the current leadership of municipalities. We have instructed all mayors and other municipal leaders to focus on development priorities and urgent service delivery issues raised by communities during the local government elections. The regional leadership elections must not be allowed to divert the energy of ANC councilors away from service delivery issues.

The PEC has developed discussion documents that are currently being debated in branches in the run-up to the Regional Conferences. The papers cover the following issues:

  • Renewal from Below: Reorganizing grassroots structures to solve people`s problems;
  • Challenges of Leadership in Our Time: Revisiting Through the Eye of the Needle;
  • Integrity Promotion in the ANC: Framework for the work of the ANC Integrity Committees;
  • Economic transformation: Regeneration of the township economy and building on the comparative advantage of the economy of each region;
  • Social transformation: tackling urban poverty and building sustainable livelihoods in communities;
  • Building the ANC`s governing capacity: the relationship between the party and the state;

The PEC is confident that all regional conferences will run smoothly, with utmost discipline and robust debate. The ANC will emerge much stronger and more united in the regions which were previously characterized by serious divisions and in-fighting.

Issued by David Makhura – ANC Gauteng Provincial Secretary (082 773 1654)

For any further information please contact Nkenke Kekana, Provincial Head of Communications (082 900 0096)