The #OccupyLuthuliHouse campaign by disgruntled African National Congress members set to march to the party’s headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday is driven by “cowards”, says the African National Congress Women’s League.
“We feel that those are cowards. Those are not members of the ANC, they are afraid to participate in the structures of the ANC. They are pulling this cheap political stunt to show people that they can go and demand that certain things happen in the ANC,” ANCWL secretary general Meokgo Matuba told journalists in Pretoria on Sunday.
“Members of the ANC would understand their roles and responsibilities in terms of the constitution of the ANC. They would seek at all times to defend the ANC but raise their issues with the structures. Going out, organising anti-revolutionaries will not help them rebuild, re-energise, and revitalise the ANC.”
Matuba warned the #OccupyLuthuliHouse campaigners that they would meet at the governing party’s headquarters.
“We will not allow them. They will find us there tomorrow [Monday], at Luthuli House waiting to defend the African National Congress. I don’t want to be misquoted, we will be defending the African National Congress and our revolution. We will be there as the women’s league. It is our position and we are not afraid to engage with any individual who wants to engage us as an organisation,” she said.
Matuba was addressing media alongside ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini after the league’s national executive committee concluded its meeting at a Pretoria hotel.
In Johannesburg, security was being beefed up outside Luthuli House on Sunday ahead of the planned march to demand President Jacob Zuma’s resignation.
At least three SA Police Service nyalas were parked in the area around Luthuli House, with barbed-wire on trailers on standby presumably to prevent protesters getting close to the building. Johannesburg metro police had also already closed one of the lanes on Sauer Street which passes outside Luthuli House.
Not many police officers were on the streets, with some sitting in their cars, but the number of vehicles visible showed they were not taking the planned protest lightly.
This comes after calls for mobilisation by “a group of concerned ANC members” on platforms including social media under the campaign #OccupyLuthuliHouse.
The group of campaigners includes former Wits University Students Representative Council (SRC) president Mcebo Dlamini, Johannesburg ANC member Sasa Manganye, and former ANC Youth League national executive committee member Ntibi Modise.
The planned occupation of Luthuli House was apparently intended to demand that Zuma and the ANC national executive committee (NEC) resign following the losses the party suffered in the August 3 local government elections.
A media briefing by the group was disrupted by ANCYL regional leaders in Pretoria on Friday. ANCYL regional chairman Lesego Makhubela and others stormed the hotel venue and told the organisers they were not allowed to speak on behalf of the ANC without the party’s consent.
It appears the police are preparing themselves for a showdown when the two groups meet on the streets of Johannesburg on Monday.