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Johannesburg - The DA has condemned the suspected arson attack at the ANC headquarters in Johannesburg.
“Such incidents undermine the spirit of our democracy and the freedom of political parties to campaign without fear of intimidation,” spokesman Mmusi Maimane said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The Democratic Alliance hopes the perpetrators of this alleged crime will be caught and prosecuted in terms of the law.”
The ruling party was convinced that the fire at its Johannesburg headquarters on Tuesday night was a malicious act, said ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu.
A bottle believed to be filled with chemicals was placed under a couch. The couch caught fire as the bottle exploded, said Mthembu on Wednesday.
“In our books that is grounds to be confident that this was arson.”
He said the chemicals that filled the bottle left fumes still lingering in the building. Mthembu added that a bomb unit, police and other experts all confirmed that the attack was indeed an arson attempt.
The ANC viewed such actions in a serious light and expressed disappointment at the act.
“Such actions do not have a place in a democratic nation. We have avenues to address issues and this (attempted arson) is not one of them...This was a criminal act.
“South Africa does not need such incidents. An attack at the offices of the governing party or any political office under a democracy is something we do not need.”
Maimane echoed the ANC's sentiments.
“In a country where constitutional freedoms have been achieved through great sacrifice, we cannot allow such actions to take us back to a place of fear or intolerance.”
Mthembu applauded security staff on duty.
“Security personnel used fire extinguishers to put down ballooning flames that were almost reaching the ceiling of the reception area,” he said.
The ANC said it was unclear what motives were behind the attack.
Earlier in the day, police brigadier Neville Malila confirmed an investigation into an alleged arson attack was underway.