ANC crowds armed at march - ZilleComment on this story
Johannesburg - The DA began marching for “real jobs” at 11.30am on Wednesday to Beyers Naude Square in Johannesburg.
Supporters were clapping and singing “Babuliseni”, which means “greet them” in Xhosa.
Police lined Marshall Street as supporters walked on.
DA leader Helen Zille on Wednesday accused the ANC of gathering with rocks and bricks without permission at Beyers Naude Square, about a street block from the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters.
“Police have not stopped them and they are armed with bricks,” she told reporters at the Westgate transport hub on Wednesday.
“They've gathered in large numbers without police permission.”
Zille said the ANC's stance would not stop the DA from marching as it had a right to do so.
“We have to take a stand... This is a democracy.”
Earlier, thousands of DA members in blue shirts were shouting “Viva” ahead of the march. They held placards which read “Six million real jobs”.
Thousands of ANC supporters filled Sauer Street ahead of the march.
Yellow T-shirts could be seen from a distance, as well as ANC flags.
Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans were on top of Luthuli House.
Supporters shouted that they were not scared of the DA.
ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte told supporters the party was responsible for their right to march.
She said the DA should meet the ANC in Parliament.
“This is not the seat of government, it's the headquarters of the ANC,” she said.
Duarte said the ANC would not provoke anyone.
“We are disciplined cadres of the movement.”
Earlier, an urgent application by the ANC to secure a protection order over an alleged threat by the DA was dismissed by the Johannesburg High Court.
The application was dismissed, with the DA agreeing that it would not march near the ANC's offices. The metro police objected to them marching to Luthuli House, but they would only allow them to march to Beyers Naude Square, a block away.
The ruling party said the application was necessary because the DA had secured the services of a security firm “armed to the teeth” with batons, helmets, and shields.
The ANC called the ruling “a victory for democracy”.
“The decision facilitated by Judge [Phineas] Mojapelo secured a binding and recorded guarantee from the Democratic Alliance that in line with the ANC protection order application, they would be confined to Beyers Naude Square for the duration of their march,” spokesman Jackson Mthembu said.
“For us this is the victory for our democracy. We believe that the decision will ensure the safety of the ANC staff, members and its building. As the ANC we will do everything in our abilities to ensure that our members and supporters will behave responsibly.” - Sapa