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Violent protests are acts of criminality – ANC’s Jessie Duarte

ANC acting Secretary General, Jessie Duarte. File photo: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

ANC acting Secretary General, Jessie Duarte. File photo: Nhlanhla Phillips/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 12, 2021

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The ANC has added its voice in the condemnation of violent protests which has affected many businesses in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

ANC acting secretary general Jessie Duarte expressed her outrage at the disruption of vaccination of people due to the ongoing violent protests which began on Saturday and escalated to Gauteng on Monday.

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Duarte made the comment when she divulged the outcome of her party’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting which came to an end today.

She said their meeting took place while several parts of the country were experiencing sporadic acts of violence, looting, intimidation and destruction of property.

“The ANC condemns these acts without reservation. We support the government in its efforts to strengthen its response and take harsher measures against this rioting, looting and destruction of property.

“While these actions are being characterised by some people as a form of political protest, they are now clearly acts of sheer criminality,” Duarte said.

She said her party was calling on religious leaders, trade unions, civil society and all concerned South Africans to join in condemning criminality, looting and wanton destruction of livelihoods.

“The current violence in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng is having damaging effects on the economy and livelihoods. A number of business organisations have registered their concerns with the widespread vandalism and destruction.

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“Although there may be opportunistic and adventurist acts of looting driven by hardship and poverty, the poor and marginalised will bear the brunt of this looting and destruction as critical public services are being disrupted, jobs are lost, access to safe and reliable public transport is being interrupted, and several small businesses have been destroyed,” Duarte said.

She further said: “The ANC repeats that we will never tolerate attempts to respond to judicial or legal processes by threats and acts of violence. Law enforcement agencies must deal with looting and criminality, and the instigators of such acts must be brought to book.”

Duarte, however, said the ANC would act against any people within its own ranks who have fanned the flames of these uprisings and called for, or are in any way involved, in inciting such violence.

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She confirmed that Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla – the daughter of incarcerated former president Jacob Zuma – will be one of the people summoned to the ANC offices to explain her tweets, allegedly encouraging the raging violence in the country.

“The NEC shares the pain of many ANC members and supporters who are saddened by the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma.

“While reaffirming our respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, we acknowledge that his imprisonment is a source of tension for some of our members. We nevertheless urge members to remain calm and desist from acts which divide and weaken the organisation,” she said.

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Duarte said the NEC reaffirmed its support for the ANC leadership of both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and instructed its deployees to these provinces to prioritise their engagements with structures in the province, saying the NEC would continue to engage structures throughout the country, and in line with applicable Covid-19 regulations, to brief their membership on its approach to the situation.

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