Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille and her parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, were whisked to safety on Tuesday after Cosatu supporters pelted them with rocks during the DA’s youth-subsidy march in Joburg.

Scores of people suffered serious injuries during bloody clashes between DA and Cosatu supporters. Emergency services ER24 reported treating 12 patients in Beyers Naudé Square.

The DA marchers were on the verge of handing a memorandum to Cosatu at its headquarters in Jorissen Street at 11.45am to ask the labour federation to abandon its call against youth subsidies, when they were met by an angry crowd.

Thousands, wielding rocks and wearing red T-shirts and black berets, stormed down the road – led by a man shocking bystanders with a Taser gun – and confronted more than 2 000 blue-shirted DA supporters carrying vuvuzelas. Cosatu-affiliated union members, ANC-aligned students and youth organisation members lined up against Zille and Mazibuko as they rebuked the labour federation for having allegedly prevented President Jacob Zuma from rolling out youth subsidies to unemployed young people.

A police Nyala and a handful of policemen with shotguns separated the two groups by about 5 metres. Zille stood on a DA truck surrounded by security and delivered a speech in isiXhosa and English.

“The DA stands on the side of the poor,” she said. “No one elected Cosatu into government. The DA was elected by you. You put us here.”

As she was speaking, Cosatu supporters began to sing “Voertsek, Zille, Voertsek!” Some Cosatu members carried posters that read:

“HIV/Aids is better than DA”, “DA stands for Defend Apartheid” and “Youth Subsidies = Youth Exploitation”.

 

Source : SA news

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