History Will Judge Mob Tactics Harshly

Cape Times (South Africa), June 19, 2012 | Go to article overview

History Will Judge Mob Tactics Harshly


The most ominous development in the 18 years of our democracy is the strategy now promoted by key members of the ANC: to override the law, the courts and the constitution by employing riotous crowds on the streets.

This behaviour would have made the apparent role model of many of these leaders, Joseph Stalin, a very proud man.

We have seen this strategy develop from late 2007 when not reason or an exchange of opinion but mob tactics were used to humiliate Thabo Mbeki and replace him with Jacob Zuma as president of the ANC.

We also witnessed the use of street mobs when Zuma was tried on a rape charge and then charged with fraud and corruption, charges that were later dropped under highly suspicious circumstances.

On both occasions, unruly crowds gathered outside the courts and at public gatherings, pledging support for Zuma and threatening violent action if he was convicted.

The same ANC Youth League that now says Zuma is a dictator and enemy of the people once threatened to "kill for Zuma".

Julius Malema himself said then that Zuma would rule the country, even if it was from prison.

Two weeks ago the ANC Youth League got pretty damn close to inciting violence against white farmers when they warned that "land-hungry" mobs would seize farmland, and the safety of "Mr Van der Merwe and Mr Van Tonder couldn't be guaranteed".

But the strategy was first articulated clearly when ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe declared during The Spear hysteria: "What we can't win in the courts, we'll win on the streets." He said this while the ANC's attempt to have The Spear censured was still before the high court.

More recently, another member of the ANC's national executive committee, Ngoako Ramatlhodi, confirmed this new approach when he warned that the constitution "would be interpreted on the streets".

No wonder the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal adopted a resolution two weeks ago that judges should in future be chosen only from the ranks of the ANC.

"Going to the streets" or "rolling mass action" were very effective ways used by the United Democratic Front and Cosatu to force the apartheid government of the 1980s to back down and eventually retreat to the negotiating table.

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