South Africa

AGE OF ANARCHY

Stoking the flames: ANC condemns looting and violence, ‘concerned’ about tweets from Zuma’s daughter

People block a road in Jeppestown, Johannesburg on 11 July 2021. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed) | Residents flee from police following sporadic looting at Letshoho Mall in Katlehong. (Photo: Felix Dlangamandla / Daily Maverick) | Former president Jacob Zuma. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Mediators have been working behind the scenes to smooth over the bad blood between the ANC and the Zuma family, party Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte said.

There is a love-hate feeling from the ANC towards one of its members, Duduzile Zuma-Sambudla, who has been sending out tweets calling on people to “let it burn” and warning: “you shall reap what you have sown” — by implication directed at President Cyril Ramaphosa. 

ANC Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte at a press conference on Monday, following a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), described the ANC’s relationship with the family of incarcerated former president Jacob Zuma as “good” and without antagonism. But she admitted that it was necessary to call in a mediator “who is talking to us and members of the family trying to calm down the anger of the family members a bit”. She didn’t give any details on whether it was working. 

She said the ANC was concerned about the tweets of some members of the Zuma family, which some have said could have been seen as fanning the violence. 

“We have seen the tweets,” Duarte said. She added that these didn’t only originate from Zuma-Sambudla, who wears an ANC doek in her profile picture, but from five others. 

“She will have to answer and explain what her tweets mean and where they’re going to lead to,” Duarte said.

“Some are claiming that the tweets are fake, but if they are fake, then you remove the tweets and you don’t let it run for days on end.”

Duarte admitted there was factionalism in the ANC, but said Zuma’s imprisonment could not be used as an excuse for causing chaos. 

“You cannot factionalise comrade Zuma, because it’s difficult for all of us that a leader of our movement is sentenced to 15 months for contempt of court,” she said. “[The violence] has its nexus that people began by being angry about the arrest of comrade Zuma and it fanned out from there.” 

Duarte contradicted assertions by Ramaphosa that the violence was tribal, saying that Zuma would not support this and that the wearing of traditional clothes, as supporters had done at Nkandla on the Sunday before Zuma was imprisoned, was “normal”. 

Duarte said: “We all met today in the NEC and we were unanimous that we don’t want to see this violence and we condemn it unanimously.” In a structure in which there have been what the party sometimes euphemistically terms “robust debates”, such unanimity is rare and implies that the party is not openly divided on this issue. 

Responding to a question over claims from ANC members that the violence and looting were fuelled by certain pro-Zuma ANC branches, Duarte said the leadership had “not detected structures of the ANC sitting down and having deliberate discussions to create this wave of violence”.

She added: “We must honestly say there are individuals who have been identified and handed names to police for investigation. We can’t deny that there has been a brewing of this, and it is unfortunate, because no amount of anger, frustration can move you to do this amount of damage that has been done. There is no recovery in any sense for many people.” 

Duarte explained that, according to the ANC, there were “five to six” people in KwaZulu-Natal who had fuelled the looting, a “sub-region in Soweto with one person who is very vocal, very strong” and “one person in a sub-region in Mpumalanga”. 

She said, “These are the people who are linked to the people who insist on 35% of the money that comes from local government [tenders]” and “it’s a bit more complex than a simple matter of ascribing it in the ANC”.

She said lists of places to be targeted circulating on social media showed that the looting had been planned because 80% of the places mentioned on those lists had been hit. 

Hinting that the mainstream media should do some soul-searching too, Duarte said messages were repeated on social media as well as on traditional media and this “inspires these acts of wanton violence”. 

The ANC in its statement also said that the violence and looting had a damaging effect on the economy and livelihoods — and that poor people could be making themselves poorer through these actions. 

“Although there may be opportunist 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,” the party’s NEC said in its statement. 

It called on law enforcement authorities to bring instigators to book and promised: “The ANC will 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.”

The statement said while the NEC acknowledged that Zuma’s imprisonment was a “source of tension for some of our members”, its leaders “nevertheless urge members to remain calm and desist from acts which divide and weaken the organisation”. DM

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      • “The ANC will 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.”
        Except for Zumas family….. there they will just mediate.

  • They say that criminality runs in family lines. Inciting violence and destruction of property is criminal and criminals belong behind bars. I think our deliberating “mediators” are too permissive and should remember to protect the citizens of this country. Every time a criminal gets away with something, the peace and human rights of every other person is compromised.

  • What is the point of simply reporting what Duarte had to say? It was bad enough that a supposedly independent TV channel gave her a platform for a PR speech on behalf of the ANC. You should adopt an investigative journalism approach to the nonsense that she sprouted, not repeat it.

    • This is not unique to South Africa. All across Africa struggle credentials for liberation override whatever leaders did AFTER achieving freedom. Take the example of the praise heaped on Robert Mugabe after his death, despite his destroying Zimbabwe. No matter your despicable actions, you are still a Comrade.

  • Talk – talk – talk- talk – promise – promise – promise – wash you hands and wear a mask – The ANC’s reaction to this anarchy. WHEN WILL THE ANC ACTUALLY ACT WITH MEANING AND DIRECTION AND IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY!!!

  • I dont think I will ever forget the scenes of affirmative shopping I saw in the last few days. Just heard that 757 ‘shoppers’ have been arrested. Wonder how many hours they spent in a cell before being released to carry on as before.

  • Where the **** are the Minister of Police and the Commissioner?? They are looking like supporters of the looting and violence due to their silence and ineptitude. Ramaphosa is no longer in control of the country. He is just a blundering around with hollow words and NO ACTION. Shame on them.

  • Calm heads called for. Make the tough decisions to urgently restore law and order. The need is to tackle the root cause of why we have reached the present position. Single party ANC with tribal elitists, communists, liberal democrats is unmanageable. A vote for the ANC is a vote for which faction? Self healing from within to put a band aid over deep differences/sores , as seems to be the ANC remedy/approach doesn’t work. There is confusion and little action to deal with even the most basic of responsibilities be it managing service delivery in municipalities, or tackling the dishonest corruption within its ranks. The need is to formalise the split of unreconcilable differences of philosophy, morality and basic values within the ANC into separate political parties, that is a basic part of the democratic process. The voting electorate can then decide what they support, and not be subjected to the outcomes of power bargaining at Luthuli house. The current paradigm sees the differences playing out in the halls of power outside of the institutions of Government as provided for in our Constitution, and now boiling over onto the streets. This is totally detrimental to all South Africans. It will come to this choice in the end, so sooner rather than later as it will minimise the inevitable bloodshed, pain and suffering. Act now for a long term political solution.