PRETORIA, February 12 – The Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) on Monday warned drivers in and around the central business district to exercise caution in the wake of an “illegal” protest march by a group calling themselves concerned members of the African National Congress (ANC) who are demanding the ouster of President Jacob Zuma.
“Tshwane Metro Police Department received a formal application from allies of the African National Congress for a national march scheduled for Monday. In respect of this march, the TMPD could not approve the march, as certain requirements of the Regulation of Gatherings Act 205 could not be submitted in due time,” spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba said.
“Please note that should the march proceed, it will be regarded as an illegal activity. However, TMPD officers will be deployed to monitor the march, and all affected streets. Some of the major routes coming to Tshwane may also be affected.”
The TMPD is informed that the marchers were planning to arrive in Pretoria from all parts of South Africa using buses. They plan to march from Pretoria CBD, to the seat of the South African government, the Union Buildings.
On Sunday, the #ZumaMustGo protest organisers announced a “national shutdown” which they said would cripple Pretoria through demonstrations from Monday in a bid to put pressure on Zuma to quit.
The group of “concerned ANC members” from different regions in Gauteng claimed they would use all possible means to get Zuma out of the Union Buildings.
“We are being in the forefront because we love our movement. We love our organisation. Even if it means that we are [going to be] arrested, or beaten, or killed – we are ready for it tomorrow [Monday]. And we are not going to leave the Union Buildings, by the way, until he resigns,” leader of the #ZumaMustGo protest Lazarus Maumela told journalists in Pretoria.
“That is what we are going to do. We have made arrangements… we are sitting with about 60 buses now, and we know that before the end of the day, today [Sunday], we could be having 100 buses [coming to Pretoria]. We want thousands and thousands of people to come to this march. We are also going to be joined by a Pakistani group.”
Maumela said aggrieved ANC members would pull “the enemy” Zuma physically from the government offices if need be.
“We are coming to the Union Buildings tomorrow [Monday], and we are not apologetic about it. We are ready for everything. We have sat down with the police and all the leaders in Tshwane,” said Maumela.
“We will address the people to say, do not give up on the ANC, we just have one enemy. We will root out that enemy. If it means we have to go the office and remove him, we will do that.
“We cannot be defeated by a group of thugs … tsotsis … people whose intention is to corrupt this organisation. We are not afraid, even if the BLF come, we are ready. If they come with firearms, we will beat them physically.”
The ANC has distanced itself from the march and has called for disciplinary action against any of it members involved in the planned march. Regional spokesperson Jolidee Matongo, has asked party members and supporters to ignore the call.
ANC Alliance partner – the South African Communist Party, which has been calling for Zuma to step down for several months, also disowned the march.
– African News Agency (ANA)