Khume Ramulifho MPL
Member DA Gauteng Caucus
The DA’s youth wage subsidy march in the CBD of Johannesburg on 15 May was a well-planned peaceful march aimed at highlighting a pro-active plan by the DA to curb unemployment. However the DA’s activists and members were met with hostility and armed COSATU members. The DA members abided by party leadership’s instructions of discipline and order and this should be celebrated and encouraged in a constitutional democracy. However it is in contrast with the ANC or alliance partners organised march.
The peaceful DA march was disrupted by already armed COSATU members, who did not have the necessary permission to march from the City of Johannesburg. The City by-laws require all gatherings to be approved and permission to gather is granted based on a risk analysis made by JMPD. COSATU completely disregarded the rule of law and undermined law enforcement’s authority. This was informed by the view that issues relating to poverty, unemployment or e-tolling should be owned by COSATU. At first they thought the march would have a bad turnout which of course was not the case, as the DA is experiencing the most growth of any political party in South Africa.
The DA realised that our great job done at various legislatures is not always communicated well to the general public and marches and huge public gatherings are means to communicate our messages. Scare tactics, violence, intimidation and insults will not stop the DA from pursuing its objectives. COSATU members started attacking DA members with bottles and harmful objects they had in their possession. What does this say about political tolerance?
The DA will continue to mobilise support on the ground as we are doing currently. If there is a lesson to be learnt in the DA’s march it is that the DA is ready to lead and people want to see changes. The ANC and its alliance partners cannot ignore this strong message. It is unfortunate that some political analysts do not see the DA’s march for what it truly is – a political party ready to lead the people of South Africa. Last month in Soweto, the DA doubled its support in a by-election and is making inroads in all communities. The ruling party and its alliance partners continue to spew rhetoric to the masses and their promises are becoming emptier as the days go by.
The DA is focusing on building one nation with one future. While other parties seem to want to perpetuate division, we are championing reconciliation. We must all embrace each other while working towards building one nation. The DA is committed to protecting the gains of our democracy.