Bloemfontein - There are criminal elements within the ANC, the party's Free State leader Ace Magashule said on Tuesday.
He was responding to questions about violent service delivery protests in some Free State municipalities.
Magashule, who is also Free State premier, said there were indications, through the police and party structures, that some protests were linked to ANC politics ahead of the party’s national elective conference in Mangaung in December.
“The truth, with time, will come out,” Magashule said in talks with The New Age newspaper.
Violent protests about service delivery have taken place in Reddersburg, Marquard, Harrismith, Zastron, Edenburg, Vredefort, Petrusburg and Botshabelo since February.
Government infrastructure has been damaged, and in some cases foreign-owned shops have been looted, burned and destroyed, and the owners have had to flee and seek safe accommodation elsewhere.
Speaking about how to address the so-called faction fighting within the ANC, Magashule said the party's leaders should “act in a certain way” and be patient.
He said discipline and respect were not aspects a political party could teach members.
“It's something you as person would learn at places such as home - respect for older people must be a given.”
Magashule said an ANC leader who had not yet learned discipline and respect had probably not gone through the grinding process of leadership and might not be ready to lead.
However, he said there had been some genuine service delivery protests about electricity and water shortages or cut-offs.
Magashule said in some Free State towns there was not enough water available to support a waterborne sewerage system. Other arrangements needed to be made in such situations.
Unemployment was also contributing to municipal protests, especially in rural areas.
Magashule said he did not know when all residents would enjoy full government services. It would take time, and he urged citizens to be patient.
He also appealed to local communities not to burn schools and libraries during protests, because they needed this infrastructure. - Sapa