The ANC says that the list of demands handed over by #OccupyLuthuliHouse protesters yesterday would not be regarded as an urgent matter.
The group of disgruntled ANC members, led by former ANC Youth League president Ronald Lamola and ANC member Gugu Ndima, called for the resignation of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) and of President Jacob Zuma.
The ruling party’s Johannesburg headquarters was guarded like a fortress yesterday, surrounded by armed response vehicles, a large riot police and Metro police contingent and hundreds of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association members, as the ANC’s secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, arrived at Luthuli House just before noon to collect the memorandum of demands. Members of the protest movement were largely outnumbered by the hundreds of ANC members who showed up to rival the protest.
Asked how the party would be dealing with the memorandum, spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said it would not be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
“No, we will regard it as part of the submissions that we are now going to take to branches around the country and it will be part of what we consider from concerned ANC members,” he explained. “So we will not be meeting over it.”
Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League, which was at the forefront of the mobilised masses who turned up yesterday morning to protect Luthuli House, reiterated the need for an early elective conference.
The body’s spokesperson, Mlondi Mkhize, told The Citizen that a new NEC was vital. But he said this would not be achievable if the NEC was forced to resign, “as it was the same NEC that needed to convene the conference”.
“As you know, the Youth League has called for an early conference and if it does not happen by June 2017, it might be a problem, but it’s unavoidable. Of course, there needs to be a new NEC elected. Some will have to go and some will stay. That is nothing out of the ordinary.”
As the chaos ensued around Luthuli House, the EFF held a press conference at its own headquarters in Braamfontein, at which leader Julius Malema pledged his party’s support for the #OccupyLuthuliHouse movement.
Malema told journalists: “I support this initiative. The young people were bold enough to confront [the MK veterans] and I salute them. It does not start in numbers, it starts with courage.”
But Malema said the EFF was capable of removing Zuma. “We can do it ourselves.”