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Widespread rumours that the ANC Youth League plans to make Cape Town and the province ungovernable on Wednesday have been vehemently denied by the party.
Mfuzo Zenzile, the secretary of the league’s Dullah Omar region, admitted to making the threats in a memorandum to Premier Helen Zille last week, saying: “Our memorandum did say we would make the city and province ungovernable if our demands were not met in seven days.”
But he told the Cape Argus that reports that this would happen on Wednesday were mistaken.
Instead, he said, the ultimatum to Zille expires only late on Tuesday night.
He said there would be no protest action by themselves on Wednesday.
According to the Cape Times, Zenzile slammed Cape Town mayor Patricia De Lille and Zille for blaming the Youth League for Friday’s protest in which a Golden Arrow bus driver, Sandile Hoko, was killed, saying they had tried to create a negative public image of the league while being in denial of poor people’s suffering.
“They are diverting attention away from the real issues. Public protests are happening for some time now,” the Cape Times quoted Zenzile as saying.
“We don’t know who orchestrated Friday’s protest and we will never allow someone to be killed. What they do is relate that protest to a statement we made.”
While De Lille had accused the ANC of stoking protests, protesters in communities such as SST in Khayelitsha and Phumlani informal settlement denied the ANC was involved. Zenzile said the league wanted to meet with Golden Arrow and Hoko’s family.
“We want to allay any concerns and the misconceptions created that the ANCYL was responsible. De Lille and Zille are trying to create an impression in the public’s mind that the league is responsible,” Zenzile said.
On the charges of incitement to violence, laid by Zille and De Lille, he said last week: “Once we have been formally notified, we will seek legal advice.
“From there, we will consult with our comrades and release our full stance.”
De Lille’s spokesman, Solly Malatsi, said: “It is up to the ANCYL to explain how their threat to make the city and province ungovernable and their subsequent threat to target Golden Arrow buses did not contribute to the alleged attack on the bus on Friday, resulting in the tragic loss of the driver’s life and serious injuries to five other people, including a child.”
Said Zille’s spokesman, Zak Mbhele: “If the ANCYL don’t want to be blamed for stoking, provoking and carrying out violence, they must stop issuing threats to carry out violence.”
Meanwhile, the Western Cape ANC has unequivocally denounced the violence during recent service delivery protests.
Senior ANC provincial leader Songezo Mjongile, speaking on behalf of the party’s provincial executive committee, said: “The PEC calls on community leaders to discourage violence and damage associated with service delivery protests as this gives room to opportunistic elements who try to demonise legitimate demands.”
He agreed with De Lille and Zille that the perpetrators needed to be brought to book.
“These service delivery protests have been raised over a long period,” he said.
“You will notice that they mostly take place during winter and concern issues such as flooding in our homes.”
Mjongile alleged the city had not delivered on a promise to address their concerns.
His party would continue to urge the city to use its resources to address the flooded communities.
”The ANC calls on the provincial and metro governments to give the same attention to issues raised by the communities that it does to people in the leafy suburbs,” said Mjongile.
Cape Argus - with additional reporting by the Cape Times