The African National Congress (ANC) is aware of a number of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations being planned countrywide on 7 April 2017.
Freedom of expression and association are the unalienable rights of all South Africans and are guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic; to which the ANC remains committed to and wholly affirms its support.
In line with Section 17 of the Bill of Rights, everyone has ‘the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions.’ By equal measure, in line with the right to freedom of association, it is also the prerogative of those who choose not to participate in any demonstrations, to not do so. This should be respected and any form of coercion with regards to participation in the planned demonstrations, should be condemned.
The ANC is concerned at reports of sporadic violence and intimidation in the run-up to the planned so-called ‘day of action’ on the 7th of April. Such actions have no place in democratic South Africa and threaten to turn the country back to a time where civic activism by citizens was stifled in the name of ‘preserving law and order.’
In the same vein, the ANC distances itself from and has not organized any marches to its Headquarters, Chief Albert Luthuli House, whether in protest or in defence of the African National Congress. We condemn in the harshest possible terms reports of people seeking to take up arms in the name of the ANC. Such behavior has no place in a democratic society.
As the planned day of protests approaches, the ANC calls on all South Africans to organize in a calm and measured fashion. We should not allow inflammatory rhetoric from certain elements, including on social media, to damage our fragile social fabric and turn South Africans against each other.
The ANC encourages all South Africans to report any incidents of illegality, intimidation or coercion to the relevant law enforcement authorities, both in the days leading up to the demonstrations, and on the day.
Issued by the African National Congress
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707