Luthuli House attack wrong

It’s right to condemn, as the ANC and the DA have done, the apparent arson attempt at Luthuli House, headquarters of the governing ANC.

Such acts have no place in a democracy and should not be condoned under any circumstances. There are many avenues through which grievances can be expressed peacefully and legally.

However, it would be naïve to imagine either the party or the building is a stranger to violence.

Luthuli House was previously called Shell House. On March 28, 1994, less than a month before South Africa’s first democratic elections, ANC security guards killed 19 Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) supporters who were part of a large protest there against the elections. At that stage the IFP planned to boycott the poll.

The ANC claimed the IFP supporters had been storming the building, or planned to do so.

The Nugent Commission, however, found the shootings were unjustified. Later Nelson Mandela said he had given the order to defend Shell House, even if it meant killing people.

The TRC granted amnesties for the incident. No one was convicted. Ah yes, violence is wrong. And some memories are long.

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