Pretoria – Residents of Atteridgeville, Tshwane, have lashed out at the ANC’s decision to put forward Thoko Didiza as mayoral candidate for the city, saying a Zulu person from KwaZulu-Natal cannot be brought in to lead them.
“The ANC cannot bring a Zulu person to rule Pedi, Tsongas, Shangaans and Vendas,” a taxi driver told News24 on Tuesday.
“What does she know about Pretoria? Where was she born in Pretoria? She must go back to KZN.”
Large-scale protest erupted in parts of Tshwane on Monday following the ANC’s announcement of Didiza as the party’s mayoral candidate.
On Monday night at least 19 buses were set alight and City of Tshwane workers had to be withdrawn from several townships for their safety.
On Tuesday, residents of Tshwane townships returned to the streets to continue protesting. Maunde Street in Atteridgeville has been blockaded with burning tyres and debris. Residents have chased away journalists, saying they don’t want media in the area.
The Darspoort tunnel in Pretoria West is also closed due to protest action. Information coming out of Hammanskraal indicated that the N1 has been blocked by protesters.
A police officer in the area says all lanes at Phumulani Toll Plaza North have been closed.
Protesters have also apparently burned cars on the N1 highway.
Another taxi driver told News24 on Tuesday that current Tshwane mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa was being sidelined because of his criticism of President Jacob Zuma. Protesting residents wanted Ramokgopa to be the mayoral candidate.
“Ramokgopa is not one of Zuma’s crooks. He was part of the group that called for Zuma to do the right thing and when he did that, Zuma decided to replace him with one of his own,” the driver said.
“Zuma must step down, he must do the right thing.”
He brought up Didiza’s resignation from Cabinet in 2008, after former president Thabo Mbeki announced his resignation, saying that she was now being brought back.
Ramokgopa distances himself
He said if Ramakgopa was allowed to stay, he would bring his own people who would also call for Zuma to leave.
The driver said this was similar to how Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was threatened after he was appointed to the position following the short stint of now Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen as finance minister.
He claimed Van Rooyen was appointed by the controversial Gupta family, who are friends with President Jacob Zuma.
Ramokgopa on Monday distanced himself from the violence.
“I’m distancing myself from any actions of violence. I would never have authorised such actions and it can’t be done in my name,” he told News24. Ramokgopa is also the ANC’s regional chairperson.
“The ANC has pronounced, and as disciplined members of the ANC we must abide by the decisions of the ANC. I had said today in the press conference that I’m fully behind the deployment of comrade Thoko Didiza as a mayoral candidate for the ANC here in Tshwane.”