JOHANNESBURG – A briefing by members of the African National Congress advocating for President Jacob Zuma and the party’s national executive committee to step down was disrupted by regional leaders of the ANC Youth League in Pretoria on Friday.
ANCYL regional chairman Lesego Makhubela and his team stormed the hotel venue and told the organisers that they were not allowed to speak on behalf of the ANC without the party’s consent.
The organisers of the ‘OccupyLuthuliHouse’ planned to demonstrate next week at the party headquarters in Johannesburg, calling for Zuma and the ANC NEC to resign with immediate effect.
They also called on the party’s stalwarts to organise a special congress by December, political education “especially for the ANCYL” and the disbandment of the judicial commission into higher education fees and an urgent implementation of free education because the commission undermined ANC conference resolutions “which state that free education is a right”.
One of the organisers, Gugu Ndima said the initiative to occupy Luthuli House was an initiative by a faction but from ordinary members and its supporters.
“Some have even confessed that they chose not to vote as they see no alternative. The common and shared view is that we no longer have the luxury of introspecting on what is blatant, we can no longer rant on sidelines and find solitude in isolated pockets,” Ndima said in a statement prepared to be read at the briefing.
The organisers were aware of the risk that came with the initiative such as isolation, alienation and possible expulsion.
“The revolution was never pleasant. However, we are equally aware of members who fear for their interests, potential loss of jobs, being purged or losing patronage and therefore choose to be silent and not alter with the current incumbent,” said Ndima.
“We therefore wish to state that as young lions and lionesses of the ANC we are more afraid of losing the ANC and our future, because that is the ultimate price we will have to pay should we continue protesting in silence.”
The ANC has come under fire in recent times from its stalwarts and veterans who blamed Zuma and the ANC NEC for the weak economy, worsening unemployment rate especially among the youth and rampant corruption. The governing party’s voter support dwindled in the local government elections as opposition parties took over key metros such as Johannesburg, Tshwane, the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Bay and retained Cape Town.
Earlier, the ANCYL warned the organisers against going ahead with their protest next week, and accused them of bringing disorder within the ANC.
– African News Agency