DA march called off due to clashes

A man wearing an ANC T-shirt threw a petrol bomb at officers in riot gear in the Johannesburg CBD.

ANC members sing and dance, shouting 'Voetsek Helen Zille' as they march against DA protesters near Luthuli House in Johannesburg, 12 February 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Clashes between police and ANC supporters at a Democratic Alliance (DA) protest in the Johannesburg CBD have brought the demonstration to a premature end.

The DA jobs rally was originally meant to end in front of Luthuli House, but the party was only granted permission to go as far as Beyers Naude Square, situated one block away from the ANC headquarters.

DA leader Helen Zille addresses the crowd during the DA march. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

DA members were forced to turn back from the square, with police warning it was too dangerous to occupy the area.

Several stun grenades were fired outside the Johannesburg Magistrates Court to disperse ANC supporters.

A group of ANC supporters charged at the thousands of DA members approaching the square.

ANC supporters kept police on their toes as they marched through the streets. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

At the same time, a man wearing an ANC T-shirt threw a petrol bomb at officers in riot gear.

Four people believed to be ANC members have been arrested for public violence.

Police have now forced supporters of both parties back to their respective gatherings.

There's still a heavy police presence and nyalas continue to patrol the area.

ANC REACTS

The ANC's Jessie Duarte says her members are now extremely concerned about vigilante groups within the DA.

She says leaders were informed the DA doesn't have a memorandum to hand over to them and the purpose of the march is simply to create violent scenes at Luthuli House.

"We think that the DA has made an absolute fool of themselves, it's very childish. Actually, if one can use the word - in political terms - it's quite boorish."

At one point, Duarte and Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize approached several small ANC groups to call them back into line.

ANC supporters sing as they plan to intercept DA marchers outside Luthuli House in Johannesburg CBD on 12 February 2014. Picture: Supplied.

Some ANC members were seen carrying stones, knobkerries and sticks.

One brick was marked with the DA's name on it and members shouted "Run Zille, run."

Police were deployed in large numbers to keep a close eye on the march. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

Earlier on Wednesday, the ANC accused the DA of 'buying' supporters by paying people to join their march.

"They collected people from various informal settlements and paid some people R100 each to march for them," Duarte added.

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

Duarte also stirred controversy when she said while the ANC would avoid violence, it couldn't call all the shots.

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