by Tebogo Tshwane and Ayanda Mgede
Members of the African National Congress (ANC), representing opposing factions #OccupyLuthuliHouse and #DefendLuthuliHouse, came face to face in a tense standoff outside the party’s headquarters in Braamfontein earlier today. The #OccupyLuthuliHouse group handed over a memorandum to ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe calling for South African and ANC president Jacob Zuma to step down along with the resignation of the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) and the dismantling of the Fees Commission.
Mary Louw, a member of the faction said that the group was motivated by feedback received during their door to door campaign for the local government elections. Louw said that most people they spoke to said they would not be voting for the ANC because of the incumbent leadership.
“A lot of people say based on the Nkandla scandal ‘we are not voting for the ANC for as long as Zuma is President,’” Louw said.
Louw added the reason they are calling for the resignation of the NEC is the latter’s ‘autocratic’ leadership style. “They defended the President until the Constitutional Court found him guilty and even after that, they were arrogant. Instead of impeaching the President, they came to the branches and insisted that we should accept an apology from the ANC President.”
ANC members who are defending Zuma say that problems within the ANC should be discussed within the party and not in front of the media.
Tim Mashele, the Mpumalanga ANC Youth League (ANCYL) Chairperson said that all ANC members need to have meetings where they can do some introspection as this was the only way to save the party.
“These ones they just want fame, that’s why they talk to the media. If there’s anyone that wants to save the ANC, they must go to the branches and various structures of the ANC so that we’re able to come up with real solutions to our problems,” said Mashele.
Gugu Ndima, one of the ANCYL members and organisers of the #OccupyLuthuliHouse march said they are giving the mother body a month to respond to the memorandum and they would continue to mobilise general society and other ANC members.