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Johannesburg - The ANC has condemned violent protests this week at the Germiston Civic Centre in Ekurhuleni by a group claiming to be military veterans.
“This type of conduct is unwarranted and unacceptable as the ANC government has many channels to address the grievances of protesters,” ANC Gauteng spokesman Dumisa Ntuli said on Wednesday.
“The act of vandalism and looting by the alleged MKMVA members borders on ill discipline.”
Ntuli said matters should be raised using existing channels.
“The ANC Gauteng is taking the matter seriously and recognises the unpleasant plight of those seeking employment, and thus appeals to relevant stakeholders and authorities to act swiftly in addressing the concerns,” Ntuli said.
On Monday, the Ekurhuleni municipality said a group of people calling themselves military veterans arrived at the Germiston Civic Centre.
Ekurhuleni mayoral spokesman Zweli Dlamini said around 100 people trashed and looted the centre, which accommodates the executive mayor, speaker, chief whip, staff and political parties.
They damaged furniture, fridges and computers and stole items.
Several staff members were injured in the unrest, and others had to receive counselling.
About 60 people were arrested and charged with theft, vandalism, trespassing, and assault. They would appear in court soon.
Dlamini did not believe the attackers were military veterans.
“We had a bunch of people masquerading as former MK (Umkhonto weSizwe) members,” he said.
“Surprisingly, some of them were in their mid-20s. They were not even born during times of the struggle.”
He said it was not clear what the group wanted, as it did not communicate any demands to officials.
The military veterans' department also condemned the violent protests.
“We urgently call on those involved to immediately desist from violent action lest they face the full might of the law,” said director general Tsepe Motumi.
“While military veterans, like any other citizens, have a right to peaceful protest, violent protests are totally unacceptable,” Motumi said.
However, the Congress of the People called for Ekurhuleni mayor Mondli Gungubele to take responsibility for shots allegedly fired by metro police on Monday.
Cope MPL Ndzipho Kalipa said: “This action is not different to previous incidents, such as (the) Marikana massacre and many other examples of police brutality (sic).”