African National Congress (ANC) secretary-general Gwede Mantashe is adamant that the ruling party would not reverse its decision to appoint Thoko Didiza as a mayoral candidate for Tshwane.
Mantashe said the violent protests in Tshwane were not necessarily related to the appointment of Didiza.
“That is thuggery and it is not a protest of ANC members. Police must act by arresting people who are responsible for that thuggery‚” he said.
Despite Mantashe’s assertion that the protest had nothing to do with the decision to appoint Didiza‚ the riots started after the announcement was made on Monday.
Residents and branch members of the ANC in Tshwane had initially nominated the current mayor and party’s regional chairperson‚ Kgosientso Ramokgopa‚ and his deputy Mapiti Matsena‚ as candidates for the mayoral position.
The two names were among the three which were sent to the provincial ANC leadership for consideration.
Given the sharp divisions in Tshwane between ANC members who support Ramokgopa and Matsena‚ the provincial leadership then took the matter to Luthuli House.
Addressing a media briefing on Monday‚ the ANC’s deputy secretary-general‚ Jessie Duarte‚ indicated that the national leadership intervened by appointing Didiza to avoid contestation between Ramokgopa and Matsena.
But people of Tshwane went berserk when they heard about the party’s decision.
Buses have been set on fire‚ schooling has been disrupted and passing motorists were stoned.