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Cape Town - The ANC Youth League on Wednesday threw down the gauntlet to the DA provincial government, vowing to continue with a programme of protest action aimed at making the Western Cape “ungovernable”.
The league’s defiant posture flies in the face of criminal charges laid under the Intimidation Act by the DA against the ANCYL, the ANC Women’s League and two taxi associations.
The charges were laid in the wake of an earlier march from Salt River to the provincial legislature in Wale Street on July 27. On this occasion a memorandum was handed over demanding improved housing and service delivery in townships, and threatening “ungovernability” if the demands were not met.
At a press briefing on Wednesday, Mfuzo Zenzile, regional secretary of the ANCYL in the Dullah Omar region, said they had given Zille seven days to respond and she had failed to do so.
He said the ANCYL would organise activities throughout the province which included protests and sit-ins. “We can’t give you details on when and where the activities will take place.”
Rolling mass action, the ANCYL has said, will focus on the 27th of each month, drawing attention to the 27 schools in the province the DA has threatened with closure.
Zenzile said their protests would be legal and non-violent, but that the protests in the city would go ahead “with or without permission [from the City of Cape Town and police]”.
“By not responding, she [Zille] is testing us as the ANC Youth League,” Zenzile said.
Chairman of the ANCYL in the Dullah Omar region Khaya Yozi said: “The ANCYL leadership is not intimidated by the use of police and state security agencies against it.”
Zille on Wednesday accused the ANCYL of blackmail: “The purpose of the ANCYL’s memo was to threaten violence against law-abiding citizens of Cape Town unless their demands are met. This is blackmail. It is unconstitutional and unlawful. Their threats are now the subject of a criminal investigation.”
She said the league’s demands included issues such as stopping the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and scrapping the Work & Skills Programme for youth.
“When the ANCYL formally ends its widespread ungovernability campaign and withdraws its threats of violence, we will respond to their memo.”
Yozi said the BRT system was killing “100 percent black-owned businesses – the taxi industry” and that the project was unsustainable.
Solly Malatsi, spokesman for mayor Patricia de Lille, said the city will schedule another meeting in Khayelitsha soon. “We won’t let a small politically motivated group prevent us from reporting back to the community.”
On the threat of the planned protests, Malatsi said the city would work with the police and law enforcement agencies to minimise the impact of the strike.
Michael Bagraim, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce, said: “Sadly, the majority of the businesses affected by these planned marches would be small businesses, many of which are already struggling to make ends meet. The chamber believes in constructive dialogue as the best means to deal with any disputes.” - Cape Argus