Determined to hit the nail on its demand for a strategic economic transformation, the youth league of the ruling African National Congress (ANCYL) has threatened to continue disrupting business activities at the newly opened Ballito Junction mall and in all business centres in the KwaDukuza municipality.
Coming out en masse, the party’s youth shocked people as they pulled out the gate of Ballito Junction mall on Thursday with some of the members throwing stones at the mall’s glasses.
The ANCYL was given the green light by KwaDukuza council to stage a mass protest action on Thursday when the Ballito Junction Regional mall is supposed to be officially opened.
The group said they are unhappy with the “uneven distribution of economic freedom” and accused the mall’s recruitment process of being unfair to KwaDukuza youth.
“As the ANCYL we strongly believe that non-compliance and failure to adhere to our demands have the potential of causing unnecessary instability not only in this mall but in every business centre in this region,” read their memorandum which was later handed over to chief executive Geraldine Jorgensen after thousands of marchers stormed the gates of the newly opened Ballito Junction mall, forcing their way into the parking lot.
Included in the ANCYL’s memorandum handed over was that the youth of the region be given preference when it came to employment opportunities.
“People who are historically disadvantaged are prioritized in allocation of shops in the mall; Emerging local business people must be afforded the opportunity to partner with well-established businesses and be capacitated so they can make a meaningful contribution to the economy in the region,” read the demands.
Also, they demanded that “a local beneficiation in the supply of goods and services to the mall. Businesses in the mall must also pay living wages to workers and commit to employing contract workers part-time.
Police maintained a high presence, ready with stun grenades and water cannons. Private security companies also came out in force. The march on the other hand, started in Kwa- Dukuza but people waiting in Shaka’s Head grew impatient waiting for the march to reach them.
It took citizens interested in the march more than an hour to form a big group but once they crossed the N2 into Ballito, a third group waiting near the mall joined them, swelling the crowd to thousands strong.
They were stopped by police at an intersection and told their memorandum would be accepted by KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu but the marchers refused, insisting they be allowed to go to the entrance of the mall, where they would hand over the memorandum to the mall’s developers.
Meanwhile, Mthembu said the municipality was encouraging investors to come to their area, which would boost their economy
“I think in the first place we should have met and discussed issues before we even come to the stage of marching. But they (the ANCYL) are an organisation, we respect them. We hope that it (the march) will end without any disruption or violation of anyone’s rights as we have respected their right to march.”
“It should not scare investors, we are going to manage the situation,” said Mthembu.
On the threat of instability, Mthembu said South Africa as a country has a very good history of solving everything on the table, so we are going to invite them to the table.