The recent violence that divided Tshwane following the announcement of Thoko Didiza as the ANC’s Tshwane mayoral candidate happened because Pretoria residents knew her selection had nothing to do with improving service delivery, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane said on Monday.
“The ANC is suffering from a cancer called corruption. The fight is not about whether Thoko Didiza is the best to serve the people of Tshwane. The fight is about who will protect Jacob Zuma and who serves the interests of those trying to unseat him,” Maimane told reporters at the DA’s Tshwane manifesto launch ahead of the August municipal elections.
“The ANC is not focused on the people of Tshwane. It is focused on it’s own internal battles, that’s why there has been no condemnation of the violence from the president. That’s why there hasn’t been any strong action being taken.”
Maimane said the DA’s focus, weeks before the polls, was ultimately on toppling the ANC in the capital city and introducing “clean governance”.
“The fight in the ANC is about their own patronage networks. Our focus must be on delivering for all South Africans. We are confident. We are on the ground. Where we govern, we have delivered better than anybody else. We will continue with the work we are doing. We are serious about winning here, in Tshwane, without doubt,” said Maimane.
Endemic violence broke out across Pretoria last week with roads blocked, numerous vehicles burnt out, and shops looted particularly in townships such as Atteridgeville, Mamelodi, GaRankuwa, and Hammanskraal. Protesters were against the selection of Didiza as the mayoral candidate for the metro. Didiza would be replacing incumbent mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
At least five people reportedly died in the skirmishes.
On Monday, DA Tshwane mayoral candidate Solly Msimanga said such ugly scenes would never be witnessed under his party’s governance.
“There wouldn’t be this kind of violence because we don’t promote the issue of patronage within the DA. That is what led to the violence that we saw,” said Msimanga.
He said he had shared some information regarding the violent protests with senior police leadership.
“I was on the ground and I told the police that this is where it was rumoured that these things would take place. It was surprising that the police were nowhere on the ground. A leader needs to be on the ground, to know before these things take place. You don’t come after.”