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ANC on defensive after IDP disruption text goes viral

Politics
Johannesburg – The ANC in Joburg is grappling to prove it doesn’t have an organised action plan to disrupt mayor Herman Mashaba’s government activities.

This after it emerged that a local leader had sent a text message to ANC members which could be interpreted as incitement to disrupt one of the community meetings on the Integrated Development Plan, the municipal government’s blueprint for development.

The Star has established that secretary of the Zone 11 region in Joburg South, Simphiwe Hlafa, urged zone chairperson Pixie Jafta to send a text encouraging party members to attend a meeting hosted by the Joburg mayor to “show the DA that we never voted for them in Johannesburg; they were put there by the EFF”.

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A text message to ANC members which was interpreted as incitement to disrupt an IDP meeting, has been doing the rounds on social media. Picture: Supplied by Mayor's Office
Pixie Jafta reportedly sent a text encouraging ANC members to attend a meeting hosted by the Joburg mayor to “show the DA that we never voted for them in Johannesburg". Picture: Facebook screengrab

The SMS was sent a day after violence erupted during an IDP meeting at the Midrand High School, where two people were injured on Tuesday.

Hlafa asked Jafta to forward the message, which was doing the rounds on social media, to ANC members ahead of an IDP meeting on Wednesday night at the Johannesburg City Hall.

The statement encouraged ANC members not to wear ANC regalia at the meeting.

No violence broke out at the gathering.

On Thursday, Hlafa confirmed he had asked Jafta to send the message, but claimed it was taken out of context.

“We have an interest in the IDP structures because as the ANC we are still the leader of society. Mashaba is deliberately quoting the message out of context,” he said. “That message is being misinterpreted."

“The only reason we said this was because our members were m*ered by the EFF in the Midrand meeting. It is not an expression of violence. The ANC does not promote violence,” Hlafa said.

But Jafta claims she did not author the message.

“I don’t know who the source is. I have seen the messages and I am also surprised. Disrupting the DA is not part of our agenda."

“We are a peaceful organisation and think it is important that residents engage with government,” she said.

Jafta said the message “was a tactic by Mashaba to paint the ANC as hooligans”.

“We are a very peaceful organisation."

“Our agenda is not to disrupt service delivery. We are pro-poor,” Jafta said.

Her region was scheduled to hold a meeting last night to discuss the messages.

Mashaba’s spokesperson Tony Taverna-Turisan said the mayor was worried about the text message, saying it was written by an ANC official to encourage the party’s members to cause chaos at public engagements.

“The mayor is deeply worried about the message, however, there is nothing he can do but continue with the public engagements,” said Taverna-Turisan. “We cannot be destabilised, but must continue to engage with the community as we are constitutionally mandated.”

He said that the city would increase security at the last few of its IDP meetings.

Jolidee Matongo, ANC Joburg region spokesperson, has called on the party’s members, who were injured in the Midrand High School attack, to open criminal cases.

The party has denied being the cause of the violence.

The Star

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