National 5.9.2016 01:14 pm

MK vets fight to prevent Mantashe from receiving protesters’ memorandum

#OccupyLuthuliHouse members on Monday.

#OccupyLuthuliHouse members on Monday.

Flanked by MK veterans, Gwede Mantashe received the memorandum from the disgruntled ANC members.

#OccupyLuthuliHouse members on Monday called on president Jacob Zuma to step down, along with senior ANC members, who they blamed for the poor showing in the local government elections.

ANC member and chairperson of Sefako Makgatho branch, Sasabona Manganye, who is founder of #OccupyLuthuliHouse group, made his remarks outside Luthuli House, where his group intended to hand over a memorandum to party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe.

After a tense standoff between #OccupyLuthuliHouse and members of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) dressed in military camouflage uniforms that lasted more than four hours, Mantashe emerged from Luthuli House to receive the memorandum.

However, the MK veterans shoved and pushed as they tried to prevent the #OccupyLuthuliHouse members from handing over their memorandum to Mantashe.

Clearly unimpressed, Mantashe warned the MK veterans not to give “hooligans publicity”, and he also warned against stifling dissenting voices.

“Don’t do something that will give them publicity,” said Mantashe. “There must be no bloodshed. You have done what you were supposed to do (defend the ANC).”

Earlier Sasabona of #OccupyLuthuliHousesaid said apart from the disappointing election results, the “current ANC” was not what it is supposed to be. He said the leadership did not subscribe to the core values of the party.

“We are fighting for the ANC to be what it is supposed to be, not something foreign” said Sasabona.

In the streets near Luthuli House ANC members in yellow party T-shirts were vociferous in their intent to “defend the ANC”. The MK Vets formed a human shield at the entrance.

There was also a visible police presence, but the pushing and shoving continued.

Flanked by MK veterans Mantashe received the memorandum from the disgruntled ANC members.

Cecillia Lindiwe a member of MK and ANC said they were ready to fight the #OccupyLuthuliHouse movement if needs be.

She said supporters of the ANC, together with those is support of Zuma’s removal, must wait for him to complete his term.

“We have to protect the ANC, but also let Zuma finish his term as agreed and voted for by the ANC,” she said.

ANC has a meeting every Monday at Luthuli House, but Zuma was away in China attending the G20 Summit. Deputy ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the meeting.

By lunchtime the crowds had begun to dissipate.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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