Jessie Duarte ANC

ANC Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte. Image via Twitter/@MYANC

‘Sheer criminality’: ANC condemn riots but ‘share Zuma supporters’ pain’

ANC Secretary-General Duarte said that while many in the ruling party sympathise with Zuma supporters, acts of violence cannot be condoned.

Jessie Duarte ANC

ANC Deputy Secretary General, Jessie Duarte. Image via Twitter/@MYANC

Acting Secretary-General Jesse Duarte has condemned the violent riots currently engulfing Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) on behalf of the African National Congress (ANC) ahead of another national address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday 12 July. 

Duarte provided an update on the outcomes of meetings with the National Executive Committee (NEC) over the weekend, saying that the decision to deploy the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) to the affected provinces is a necessary measure to stem rioting, looting, and destruction of property by supporters of incarcerated former President Jacob Zuma. 

ANC condemn ‘acts of sheer criminality’ 

Duarte said that the NEC have called on religious leaders, trade unions, civil society and all concerned South Africans to join the ANC in condemning “criminality, looting and wanton destruction of livelihoods“.

“The ANC condemns these acts without reservation. We support the government in efforts to strengthen its response and take harsher measures against this rioting, looting and destruction of property,” she said. 

“While these actions are being characterised by some people as a form of political protest, they are now clearly acts of sheer criminality,” she said. 

SA economy in jeopardy  

Duarte said that the riots are causing severe damage to South Africa’s economy and its citizen’s livelihoods. She said that those responsible will face the full might of the law. 

“Although there may be opportunistic and adventurist acts of looting driven by hardship and poverty, the poor and marginalised will bear the brunt of this looting and destruction as critical public services are being disrupted, jobs are lost, access to safe and reliable public transport is being interrupted, and several small businesses have been destroyed,” she said. 

“The ANC repeats that we will never tolerate attempts to respond to judicial or legal processes by threats and acts of violence. Law enforcement agencies must deal with looting and criminality, and the instigators of such acts must be brought to book.”

Duarte also said that the ANC will take disciplinary action against any people within its own ranks who have “fanned the flames of these uprisings and called for, or are in any way involved, in inciting such violence”.

ANC sympathise with Zuma supporters  

Many of those currently participating in the widespread chaos have been invigorated to do so in support of Zuma, who is currently incarcerated in KZN after his arrest last week. Under the #FreeJacobZuma banner, protesters embarked on a violent, escalating spree of violence over the weekend. 

“The NEC shares the pain of many ANC members and supporters who are saddened by the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma,” said Duarte. 

“While reaffirming our respect for the Constitution and the rule of law, we acknowledge that his imprisonment is a source of tension for some of our members. We nevertheless urge members to remain calm and desist from acts which divide and weaken the organisation.”

“The NEC reaffirms our support for the ANC leadership of both KZN and Gauteng and instructs our deployees to these provinces to prioritise their engagements with structures in the province.”