ANC accuses DA of 'buying' supporters

The ruling party claims the DA is paying people R100 each to march this morning.

A DA supporter getting ready for the DA jobs march in the Johannesburg CBD on 12 February 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Thousands of supporters African National Congress (ANC) and Democratic Alliance (DA) are arriving in the Johannesburg CBD at this hour in anticipation of a jobs march by the DA.

The DA's march is expected to start shortly, but has already been strongly criticised by the ruling party which has questioned whether the opposition will be able to control its supporters.

The march was originally intended to end in front of the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters, but the party was only granted permission to go as far as Beyers Naude Square one block away.

The ANC says it fears the people being bussed in by the DA won't respect the rule of law.

ANC members outside Luthuli House ahead of the DA march to their organisation's headquarters on 12 February 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte says the DA's decision to proceed with the march, despite fears of violence, signals their intentions.

"We appealed to them not to continue with this march on 22 January and Helen Zille said the march would go on, so clearly they want a fight."

Duarte also claims the opposition has paid people to take part in the mass action.

"They collected people from various informal settlements and paid some people R100 each to march for them, so we aren't clear that they can actually control who they are bringing to the city."

Duarte also accused the party of attacking them with constant lies.

"It's building up an atmosphere in this country which the DA will ultimately regret, not us."

Dozens of police vehicles are stationed around Luthuli House as thousands of people demonstrate in the street.

Security has been tightened as thousands of DA members prepare to march to Luthuli House. Picture: @Masemito

The roads have been blocked off with barbed wire.

Earlier this morning, the ANC went to the South Gauteng High Court asking for a protection order to prevent its members and assets from harm during the DA's march.

The application was settled by Deputy Judge President Judge Phineas Mojapelo without any order being granted and an agreement being put into place.

Judge Mojapelo says he expects both sides to obey the law.

The judge felt both sides were in agreement on how close DA supporters could come to Luthuli House.

Judge Mojapelo also felt there was no need to argue over costs.

The ANC's Jackson Mthembu says the DA's decision to use private security guards armed with batons led to the court application.

At the same time, the DA's Mmusi Maimane says he's happy with the court's ruling.

"The court decision confirmed what we always believed that this peddled information by the ANC that we are planning on attacking them is misinformation. More critically, we wanted a peaceful march and I think the court has upheld that decision."

'STREET RULES'

The ANC says the march will be volatile and emotional, but says it will do whatever it can to restrain its members and keep the peace.

The ruling party claims the opposition hasn't given it decisive assurances that the demonstration will be peaceful.

Duarte says the ANC hasn't asked its members to incite violence but says different rules apply on the streets.

"The ANC will not ask anybody to clash with anybody but when you go to the streets, the street rules apply."

ANC supporters outside Luthuli House on 12 February 2014. Picture: @SITHOLEEXPRESS

A PEACEFUL MARCH

The DA's Mmusi Maimane has promised the march will be peaceful and has denied reports that its members will be armed.

He, however, says the party has had to take extra precautions to protect their members should the need arise.

"We have never once uttered a sense of threat. All we wanted to do is deliver a manifesto at the ANC's headquarters."

Maimane says he's disappointed the ANC wouldn't allow them to gather at Luthuli House.

"We are a party that stands for the rule of law and will subject ourselves to what the police decide to do. It is just such an incredible pity how the ANC has dealt with this matter."