SUPPORTERS of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema demonstrated their frustration towards President Jacob Zuma and the ANC in central Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Malema, along with other ANCYL leaders, has been charged with sowing division in the ANC and bringing the party into disrepute. The crowd gathered outside Luthuli House, the ANC headquarters, to support Malema during his disciplinary hearing.

Rubbish bins were set alight and signs and T-shirts bearing Zuma’s face were burnt or torn to pieces that morning. Zuma, along with ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, appeared to be the target of anger for the crowd.

Several shops and companies closed their doors, with the First National Bank (FNB) across from Luthuli House bringing down its steel shutters.

Police reacted by blocking the crowd from approaching Luthuli House with barbed wire and riot police stood between the crowd and the building. The supporters then gathered in front of the wire with a large banner which said “hands off our youth league president”.

They also waved smaller signs which said, “No Malema, no ANC. The people shall govern” and “Zuma a Polokwane disaster”.  At one stage, they also began chanting Thabo Mbeki’s name, another apparent sign of the crowd’s unhappiness with the Zuma leadership.

Kagiso Mokubung, the ANCYL branch secretary in the Northern Cape, said he is “100% JuJu”.

He said the ANC should believe in the “autonomic structure of the youth league”.

Mokubung believes that Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula will take the top job in the ANC in 2012.

Outside Luthuli House, Mantashe said: “When you open the window to bring in fresh air, and mosquitoes also come in, you take responsibility for both the fresh air and the mosquitoes.”

Mokubung said Mantashe “must get his story straight” and either commit fully to the ANC or the communist party. Mantashe holds senior positions in both organisations.


Photos: Brendan Roane