Thu Dec 08 16:21:08 CAT 2016

ANC can't allow youth league to terrorise our cities

The Editor, The Times Newspaper | 2011-10-27 00:18:20.0
Julius Malema at the ANC Youth League's 'Economic freedom' lecture at Wits University. File photo.
Image by: JAMES OATWAY

The Times Editorial: Businesses, schools and nervous homeowners along the route of the ANC Youth League's march for ''economic freedom'' were yesterday finalising various contingency plans should the protest turn violent.

Mindful of the wanton thuggery and vandalism that accompanied the league's protests outside Luthuli House, the ANC HQ in central Johannesburg, in August, over the ruling party's decision to charge Julius Malema for bringing it into disrepute, many businesses will no doubt be closed today.

Others will shut their doors for an hour or so, hoping that the more than 1000 police deployed to manage the protest will be able to protect them and their premises.

Major companies near the route have sent notices to staff reassuring them that their security personnel will be on ''high alert'' and advising employees to steer clear of the marchers.

Schools and creches along the 17km march route, from Beyers Naude Square, in the Johannesburg CBD, to the stock exchange, in Sandton, have arranged alternative drop-off and pick-up points for parents ferrying children. Some may close for the day.

In Pretoria, where the league will hold a similar protest that will culminate in a march on the Union Buildings tomorrow, at least one preschool along the route will be closed for both days.

After the August debacle at Luthuli House, principals, teachers and parents simply cannot take the league's word for it that its protests will be peaceful.

Homeowners along the routes will be jittery and will do their best to safeguard their property and their families.

It seems incredible that protests by the youth wing of the ruling party, in a democracy, can cause parts of the country's two foremost cities to retreat into a virtual lockdown.

The league has every right to protest - but the ANC and the police must ensure that the marches are disciplined and peaceful.

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