Blame game begins between DA & ANC
Both parties are refusing to take the blame for the violence at yesterday's jobs march.
JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) says the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s march for jobs was unnecessary and could have brought serious harm because the party provoked its members.
Yesterday's march turned into show of political force on the streets of Johannesburg with police firing stun grenades to prevent clashes between the two parties.
ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte gave DA leader Helen Zille a stern warning.
"Don't do what you are doing Helen Zille. Don't provoke people in the manner that you do when you live in a constitutional democracy and you have other avenues of raising any issue you want to raise."
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille addresses the crowd during the DA march in Johannesburg CBD on 12 February 2014. Picture: Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.
The ANC says it would never make the childish decision to march on the DA's headquarters, adding provocation always carries the potential for danger.
Meanwhile, the ANC says it will take action against any of its members if it's found they were responsible for throwing petrol bombs at the police during the march.
The ANC's David Makhura says if those responsible for the violence were ANC members, there will be consequences.
"We will without doubt take action against any of our members who were involved in things they weren't supposed to be involved in."
The DA was met by thousands of ANC supporters who had come out in full force to defend their organisation's headquarters.
ANC supporters kept police on their toes as they marched through the streets. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.
The march was originally meant to end in front of Luthuli House, but the DA was only granted permission to go as far as Beyers Naude Square, situated one block away from the ANC headquarters.
Supporters of both parties appeared confident before the march started, singing songs while dancing through the streets of Johannesburg.
DA supporter getting ready for the DA job march in the Johannesburg CBD on 12 February 2014. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.
But when ANC supporters caught sight of the DA march nearing their own demonstration, the mood quickly changed.
A group of ANC supporters charged at the thousands of DA members as they approached the square.
ANC members were armed with bricks and stones, some with the DA's name painted on them.
The DA was then forced to turn back as police warned it was too dangerous to occupy the area.
One DA member says he wanted to fight back, but chose not too.
"We aren't scared of the ANC. We want peace we don't want to take this country back to the bad days."
Stun grenades were fired outside to disperse ANC supporters.
During the commotion, a man wearing an ANC T-shirt threw a petrol bomb at officers in riot gear.
Meanwhile, Gauteng police have been praised for preventing potentially violent clashes at the march.
The police's Katlego Mogale says the increased police presence in the city centre helped them maintain control.
"All the role-players were present."
Police were deployed in large numbers to keep a close eye on the march. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.
Four people, believed to be affiliated to the ruling party, were arrested during the demonstration and will be charged with public violence.