Johannesburg - There will be no violence when the DA marches to the ANC's headquarters in Johannesburg, the ruling party in Gauteng said on Thursday.
“ANC members will not engage in any violence with the opposition,” Gauteng secretary David Makhura told reporters in Johannesburg.
“Those ANC members in this province, they know they are not allowed to fight physically with members of the opposition.”
However, the African National Congress would be there to receive the Democratic Alliance. He said the ANC would engage with the DA politically. The focus was to educate the DA.
“The battle between us and the DA is about who has the best vision for South Africa, who has the best policies to move South Africa forward. We will be there to receive them and educate them on our plans to transform the economy,” Makhura said.
The DA intended marching to the ANC's headquarters, Luthuli House, in the Johannesburg CBD on Wednesday as part of its “fight for jobs”. DA leader Helen Zille said there was nothing provocative about this, as the ANC had claimed.
On Thursday, DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane welcomed Makhura's promise of no violence at the march next week.
“We note also that the ANC intends to have a crowd waiting 'to receive us', as Mr Makhura stated today 1/8Thursday 3/8. We trust that this presence will be peaceful, as was the case when ANC marchers were received by DA premier Helen Zille in Cape Town yesterday 1/8Wednesday 3/8,” he said in a statement.
The DA was scheduled to march on Tuesday but postponed the event after appealing in court a decision by the metro police stopping the DA from marching.
On Sunday, following an appeal by the DA, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court overturned the metro police's decision to stop the march. Despite this the DA postponed the march it had scheduled for Tuesday.
When the DA first announced its decision to march, ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu warned the party not to provoke the ruling party. He reminded the DA about what happened when it marched to the Congress of SA Trade Unions' office in Braamfontein two years ago.
Cosatu members threw stones at DA supporters as they made their way to the lawns of the Joburg (formerly the Civic) Theatre, 50 metres from the trade union federation's office. Police used teargas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Mthembu said the ANC did not want to be put in the same situation and called on the DA to reconsider the march.
On Sunday before the court judgment, Mthembu said the decision to prevent the march confirmed the ANC's long-held view that the DA's march was ill-advised, ill-informed and risky.
“We would have welcomed the opportunity to educate the DA that successive ANC governments have turned around a collapsing and nearly bankrupt economy in 1994 into a thriving one with growth rates averaging 3.6 percent annually consistently over the last two decades.”
He said the ANC remained willing to engage with society, including the DA, on the ANC's election manifesto.
“Such an engagement may indeed prove fruitful to the DA in order to mask their lack of clear policy positions on the economy and other areas of socio-economic endeavour,” Mthembu said at the time.