Gauteng MEC for Education Panyaza Lesufi. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Johannesburg- The ANC and DA in Gauteng on Sunday squared off over the violence that recently engulfed the township of Alexandra, as the battle to win the country’s economic heartland hots up ahead of the May 8 elections.

The ANC described the criminal charges laid against it by the DA as a desperate attempt by the opposition party to inject life into its failure to govern the City of Joburg.

This was the reaction of ANC deputy provincial chairperson Panyaza Lesufi, moments after the DA’s premier-elect, Solly Msimanga, went to the Alexandra police station on Sunday to open criminal charges against the governing party.

In his affidavit, Msimanga told the police he had “evidence of how the ANC was conspiring to instigate violence by co-ordinating plans with local affiliates on the ground to embark on violent protest actions and sow anarchy”.

The DA had seen WhatsApp messages from a South African National Civic Organisation group, “where activities aimed against Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba were co-ordinated”.

“We have seen a WhatsApp exchange where one of the organisers infers that their actions are being supported by the ANC. Further digging on social media revealed that the organisers were wearing ANC regalia,” he said.

“The protest is being led by ANC ward councillors and not the legitimate community leadership who have raised issues with the City of Johannesburg.

“The councillors have resisted any attempt to hand over a memorandum to the City of Johannesburg and have blocked efforts by the city to hold meetings with community leadership.

"It is clear that the ANC is running scared of losing the elections on May 8 and will stop at nothing to hang on to power in Gauteng,” Msimanga said.

The ANC denied it. Lesufi said the criminal charges were a “cheap stunt by the DA”, and the party had resorted to opening a police case on trumped up charges of alleged incitement of violence against the ANC.

He said the DA must not hide behind the ANC and use it as an excuse for its dismal failure to respond to the plight of the people of Alexandra since taking over the City of Joburg in 2016.

“Instead of meeting with the people of Alexandra who have requested, rightly so, to meet with their elected local government leadership led by the absent mayor Herman Mashaba, the DA decides to open a case against the ANC.”

 Political Bureau