WATCH: ANCYL protesters set sugar cane alight amid KZN mall protest
Jackie Clausen And Taschica Pillay | 2017-03-23 13:07:53.0
ANC Youth League protesters on Thursday morning set fire to roadside sugar cane as they marched to the Ballito Junction to complain about the mall developer’s job allocation policies.
While party leadership denied their members had set the fields on fire‚ footage captured by a TMG Digital photographer showed how protesters stood alongside the smokey crops.
One video showed a handful of yellow T-shirt clad protesters running away from newly-set flames. SAPS water canons had been called in. ANCYL KZN secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo denied any wrongdoing‚ instead complaining that police had their weapons – loaded with rubber bullets – drawn.
“We have no idea who set alight the sugar cane. It’s definitely not one of the protesters‚” he said. Sabelo added that police wanted to “send a message” by having their weapons drawn – and claimed that the protest was peaceful.
At least 500 people marched on the KZN north coast town of Ballito to the Ballito Junction mall‚ which opened its doors on Thursday morning‚ demanding jobs for locals.
The group from Shakaskraal and KwaDukuza heeded the call by the ANCYL. Amid a strong police presence large groups of people joined the march which started at a park in Shakaskraal‚ some 10km from the mall.
Many carried ANC placards which read‚ “Economic Exclusion deprives us from enjoying our hard won political freedom..” Another said‚ “Transfer the economy from the minority to the majority.” Zanele Sibisi‚ 23‚ from Shakaskraal said she is here to fight for her future.
“Many of those employed are outsiders and not from the KwaDukuza region. That is unfair. We are not saying don’t hire them but give 70 percent of the jobs to locals. The mall was built to benefit the community.” Philile Biyela‚ 21‚ a Grade 12 learner from Shakaskraal‚ said the local community should be given first preference when it comes to jobs.
“Next year I want to study and work part time. That is why I am here today fighting for my future. We are the ones who support the mall. Our mothers work in Ballito as domestic workers and in restaurants and shop at the malls.
So why not give us a chance to work at the mall so we can benefit our family and better our lives.” Sabelo said the protest was aimed at securing jobs for the province’s young people.
“We calling on the private sector to create jobs for young people. We also saying we want to participate in the mainstream economy of our country. We cannot only be waiters‚ waitresses‚ cleaners and security guards at the mall.
We can own franchises and businesses in the mall. We calling on the owners of the mall to give 51 percent of shares to the local community so that they can participate in the economy of the area.
This is just the start. We are going to target other malls construction sites and factories. Anywhere where monopoly capital exists.”
– TMG Digital/The Times