Jessie Duarte: ‘Ethnicity has nothing to do with pro-Zuma violence’ | News24


  • President Cyril Ramaphosa told the nation on Sunday some of the violent protests in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are based on ethnic mobilisation.
  • The ANC’s deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte seems to disagree with her party leader.
  • On Monday, Duarte told journalists at a press briefing that ethnicity has nothing to do with the looting.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte says the violence in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng has nothing to do with ethnicity, veering away from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s view that the carnage was based on ethnic mobilisation.

On Monday, Duarte addressed a virtual media briefing following the party’s national executive committee (NEC) meeting held over the weekend.

The party discussed at length former President Jacob Zuma’s incarceration.

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She told journalists that ethnicity is not the primary reason behind the violence that has gripped parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

“We think that what has happened is much bigger than that, and the obvious perception is that when people mobilise people in a hostel, it would be ethnic. But we did discuss at length that people wearing their cultural attire in our country is not unusual. We all do that. You cannot ascribe the wearing of cultural attire and protest in it… you can’t actually add any value to that,” Duarte said.

In contrast, Ramaphosa said on Sunday it is a matter of concern to all South Africans that some of these acts of violence are based on “ethnic mobilisation”.

“This must be condemned by all South Africans at all costs as we are a nation committed to non-racialism and non-tribalism that is underpinned by the diversity and unity of all the people of South Africa, whatever their language, culture, religious beliefs, and race,” he said.

READ | Boy shot dead during unrest in Pietermaritzburg

But Duarte believed the violence could have started as a factional matter but said Zuma’s circumstance could not be factionalised.

“What you add value to is that you are protesting and what you are protesting about. Your ethnicity in this instance does not matter. The looters and the burners are (not) declaring their which ethnicity they are from. They are looting and burning,” she said.

Duarte reiterated that former President Jacob Zuma’s incarceration has been a sad moment for many ANC supporters.

“The NEC shares the pain of many ANC members and supporters who are saddened by the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma,” she said.

READ HERE | ‘Cruel and degrading punishment’ for Zuma to remain behind bars pending ConCourt decision – Mpofu

Duarte also said the destruction of property and damage to roads will negatively affect the very communities who are destroying infrastructure.

“Although there may be opportunistic and adventurist acts of looting driven by hardship and poverty, the poor and marginalised will bear the brunt of this looting and destruction as critical public services are being disrupted, jobs are lost, access to safe and reliable public transport is being interrupted, and several small businesses have been destroyed. The ANC repeats that we will never tolerate attempts to respond to judicial or legal processes by threats and acts of violence,” she said.

She said law enforcement agencies must deal with the looting and criminality and that instigators of such acts must be brought to book.

“The ANC will act against any people within its own ranks who have fanned the flames of these uprisings and called for, or are in any way involved, in inciting such violence,” she said.

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