JOHANNESBURG - The DA on Sunday again called on the South African Police Service (SAPS), the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), and parliament to put an end to the alleged "ANC-orchestrated anarchy" in DA-run municipalities.
The DA sought immediate intervention in "what can only be described as a malicious and calculated attempt by the ANC to render DA-run cities ungovernable in the lead up to the election, and to shift attention away from its failure as national government over the past 25 years", DA leader Mmusi Maimane told journalists at a media briefing at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.
"The reality is that millions of South Africans live in communities that have seen little or no change since the dawn of democracy. Our painful history still lives with us and after 25 years of ANC rule, many South Africans live without basic services. This is because the ANC government is one of self-enrichment rather than building infrastructure in poor communities.
"It appears that the likelihood of the party losing power in key parts of the country on 8 May has now firmly panicked the ANC, as it has now resorted to desperate and dangerous so-called 'shutdown' protests in DA-run governments spanning over the past two weeks. While these violent protests were intended to appear as organic and community-driven, it has become embarrassingly evident that the protests have been initiated and sustained by the ANC," Maimane said.
Beginning in Alexandra, Johannesburg on April 3, the “shutdowns” had spread to other DA-run governments, including Ga-Rankuwa, Mabopane, Pretoria West, Soshanguve, Winterveld, and Hammanskraal in the City of Tshwane; Orange Grove and Pennyville, Soweto in the City of Johannesburg; Khayelitsha, Lwandle and Happy Valley, Blackheath in the City of Cape Town; and Caledon in the Theewaterskloof Municipality in the Western Cape. There were threats of further “shutdown” protests.
This cheap, dangerous politicking was not being carried out by a few rogue elements in the ANC. It "is the party’s election campaign strategy, endorsed and approved" by the top ANC leadership.
"At the very core of a democracy such as ours is the possibility of a peaceful transition of power from one party to another through the ballot box. It appears the ANC is not willing to allow this to happen, stooping to new lows in an attempt to maintain their grip on power," Maimane said.
As a party that governed for 16 million South Africans across over 30 governments, the DA would be in dereliction of its constitutional duties if it failed to act now on behalf of current and future generations of South Africans.
"We will not sit back and watch the ANC erode the very values that were sacrificially fought for." Therefore, Maimane said he would again approach National Police Commissioner Lt-Gen Khehla Sitole requesting an urgent face-to-face meeting in the next 48 hours to establish what plans were in place to put an end to this violence and to restore law and order in communities.
"Earlier this week I requested a meeting with General Sitole, who committed to meet on 29 April 2019. This is not good enough. We need urgent intervention and 29 April may be too late. The SAPS must immediately institute a plan to halt the ANCs objective of inciting violence and turning our communities into war zones and will address this head-on when I meet with General Sitole."
Secondly, on the back of the DA’s formal complaint lodged with the IEC over the “shutdown” protests, Maimane would request to meet IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini to seek an update on this complaint and, if required, request the investigation to be fast-tracked to ensure "we get to the bottom of this threat" well before election day on May 8, and seek reassurance that the elections will go ahead on May 8.
"Finally, we believe parliament has a vital role to play in getting to the bottom of this orchestrated anarchy. As such, we will write the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete, requesting the urgent establishment of an ad hoc joint committee consisting of the portfolio committees on police, cooperative governance and traditional affairs, and home affairs to use its legislative power to consider this matter in its entirety. Parliament must use its powers to summon all involved.
"South Africans face a clear choice at the ballot box on 8 May – a choice between more violence and chaos from the ANC, or the DA’s agenda to bring change that restores order and builds One South Africa For All," Maimane said.