The ANC in-house political crisis which now spills out to the streets of most municipalities like that of Tshwane city was never anticipated to get to this extent opposition parties are furious at president Zuma’s silence on the matter.
The riot which has now lasted over three days has been out rightly condemned by economic experts saying if allowed to persist, the violence and mass destruction could affect economic growth of the country negatively and the opposition parties particularly the Democratic Alliance raised concern over Zuma’s silence and that of Thoko Didiza who is the main cause of the violence.
The party said President Zuma’s silence and the sudden disappearance of Didiza is a sign of an imposed mayoral candidate.
“Thoko Didiza has been nowhere to be seen while ANC violence brings Tshwane to its knees. Didiza’s first action as mayoral candidate was to go into hiding” the party claimed.
“The violence in Tshwane is undeniably political in nature, but the ANC refuses to accept responsibility for the actions of its members. The President, and Leader of the ANC, is yet to make a public statement condemning the violence or even to call for calm”
Speaking on the cause of the whole issue, the Minister of State Security David Mahlobo on Wednesday said the protests were sparked by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) “who were not satisfied with the processes” that saw the party name Thoko Didiza as its mayoral candidate.
Mahlobo said though political tension was expected in Tshwane as well as a number of other areas identified as “hotspots” in the run-up to the August 3 local government, it was beyond the department’s anticipation that the riot could turn out in such horrible state where “gangs”, “youths on drugs”‚ “opportunistic” members of the community with a “criminal agenda” could hijack the situation.
The DA on its part blamed the president for choosing to remain calm and “hosting comfortable summit” while the capital burns.
“Restoring calm to Tshwane requires decisive actions from the ANC leadership. I have called on Gwede Mantahse to intervene, but instead the ANC has chosen scapegoating and blame-shifting over honesty and accountability” The party leader Mmusi Maimane said.
Speaking on the economic implication of the violence, economic expert Nomura’s Peter Attard Montalto said markets are currently focused on the Brexit vote happening this week than on intra-ANC politics but warned that if the army is deployed, or if there are more fatalities, investors are going to take note.
“What (the riots) do highlight, are some of the risks of the transition of power from the ANC to more contested politics with other parties and the contestation for power within the ANC in such an environment.”
“It shows the importance that ‘cadre deployment’ – choosing who will be in charge, have access to patronage networks and tender decisions – is within the ANC and how conflict can develop over this, spilling over into violence. This is what ultimately concerns us,” he said.
The analyst further added that the riots paint a bleak picture of what lies ahead for South Africa – especially if the ANC loses major metros to other parties.
The DA however pointed out that the violence has so far caused millions in damage, including the torching of 19 busses, while countless residents of Tshwane are captives in their communities, unable to get to work and school.
The party said if Thoko Didiza wants to retain any semblance of leadership, she must come out of hiding and address the Tshwane ANC violence immediately. President Zuma’s silence won’t help; he must also step up and take responsibility for the violence he has caused.