The ANC has been forced into action to address the socio-economic grievances that precipitated the xenophobic violence in certain parts of the country.
After almost a fortnight of watching from the sidelines as government officials tried but failed to quell the attacks targetting foreign nationals of African descent, the ANC top brass met on Monday and decided to deploy its top six to deal with the concerns of the protesters this week.
They were hoping that addressing the causes of the strife would help to end the violence which has engulfed parts of Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga since last week.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule announced yesterday that the ANC top six would visit communities later this week. The top six comprised President Cyril Ramaphosa, his deputy David Mabuza, national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte, treasurer-general Paul Mashatile and Magashule.
“The ANC calls on its members to play an active role in mobilising communities against violence, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance.
“It will work with communities and grassroots organisations to restore harmony and good relations to affected communities,” Magashule said.
The countrywide visits to communities were aimed at giving impetus to the call for mobilisation against violence.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said the deployment of the ANC’s top brass to talk to people on the ground was a good initiative.
“People need an honest response from the government. Of course, such efforts should have started earlier,” Mathekga said.
Magashule said the ANC had also heeded the calls to listen to the genuine grievances that South Africans have, which may be giving rise to frustration and anger.
“The ANC calls upon government and its social partners to accelerate efforts and work with greater impact to address the social and economic conditions of the people that fuel such acts of violence,” he said.
Inkatha Freedom Party Gauteng leader Bonginkosi Dhlamini lashed out at Minister of Police Bheki Cele for putting off at the last minute a visit to a hostel in Johannesburg on Sunday to address the residents’ concerns.
“Cele and his counterparts, national and provincial, should desist from making wrongful and hurtful statements which do not aid our calls to stop the violence in Gauteng.
“Government leaders cannot fight each other when the country’s economic hub is burning,” he added.