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Herman Mashaba blames ANC for Joburg Council violence

The Johannesburg mayor has condemned the violence in the strongest possible terms and says he will lay charges on Friday.

Property was damaged when violence broke out at the Johannesburg City Council. Picture: Cllr Sarah Wissler via Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has released a statement blaming the African National Congress (ANC) for what he calls an orchestrated attack on democracy at the Johannesburg City Council on Thursday.

Dozens of demonstrators stormed into Joburg's Council Chambers on Thursday afternoon over Mashaba's decision to scrap the Jozi@work programme while police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades.

Mashaba says the attack was perpetrated by the Johannesburg Social Movement (JSM), which he calls a front organisation for the ruling party, but the ANC says the mayor's arrogance led to the degeneration of the meeting.

The mayor has condemned the violence in the strongest possible terms and says he will lay charges on Friday.

“On Thursday, the ANC staged an orchestrated attack on our democracy under the auspices of their front-organisation, the JSM. This was a blatant attempt to prevent council from passing the adjustment budget and bringing change to the residents of Johannesburg. We will not be deterred, the people's business will be done,” Mashaba said in a statement.

“I condemn the violence that has broken out at the Johannesburg Council in the strongest terms; it has no place in our democracy.

“Those responsible for the violence and damage to city property must be held accountable and I will be laying criminal charges at the Johannesburg Central Police Station on Friday morning.”

The mayor went on to say: “Thursday’s protest was clearly organised by the ANC in a bid to derail council proceedings. The blame must be put squarely at the feet of the ANC who assisted the protesters in storming the Council Chamber and threatening the lives of councillors and city employees alike.

“I have a message for the ANC; you will not intimidate us; you will not stop us from fulfilling the mandate for change that the residents of our city have given us.

“Thursday's council will continue. Whether it takes all day and night, we will pass the adjustment budget and usher in a new era of change for our beautiful city.”

ANC SLAMS ‘ARROGANT’ MASHABA

The ANC in Johannesburg says arrogance displayed by Mashaba led to the degeneration of a council meeting.

The ANC's Jolidee Matongo says Mashaba must take responsibility for what happened.

“Thousands of people who are on the Jozi@work programme marched on Thursday to the city council and requested the mayor to receive their memorandum. The mayor responded by saying ‘he’s not going to receive a memorandum from a political party-inclined movement.’”

The ANC says marches are part and parcel of the political terrain and more will come if Mashaba continues with the arrogance he displayed on Thursday.

Several people were hurt in Thursday's commotion.

POLICE ON HIGH ALERT

Metro police have confirmed they’re on high alert outside the council in Braamfontein after protests turned violent while a meeting was underway.

Dozens of protesters stormed into council chambers and destroyed property earlier on Thursday apparently after Mashaba refused to receive a memorandum from them.

The protesters are against his decision to scrap the Jozi@work programme, which the mayor says only benefitted a few ANC members above the poor.

It is unclear at this stage which organisation the group is affiliated to.

The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department's Wayne Minaar says law enforcement agents will maintain a heavy presence around the council building.

“More officers have been deployed to the area to bring the situation under control.”

There have been claims of Democratic Alliance and Economic Freedom Fighters members being held under lockdown inside the council building because of the protest but this has not been confirmed by police.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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