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JOHANNESBURG- African National Congress supporters gathered outside Luthuli House in Johannesburg are calling on the NEC to remove President Jacob Zuma as the head of state.
Clad in their colourful party regalia and keeping busy with song and dance, the supporters all echoed one message; Zuma must go.
Lazarus Maumela from ANC District Branch 91 said the supporters gathered outside the party’s head office to protect the current leadership from the planned march by Black First Land First (BLF) members who are saying #HandsOffZuma.
Maumela said the organisations wanting to march to Luthuli House have no right to dictate to the ANC on how it should handle its matters.
“In the national conference, the resolution that was taken there was that the NEC and NWC must make a decision to deal with the issue of comrade Zuma so that he can be recalled. Now when that call is made by NEC to say let the top 6 deal with it people want to complain. The BLF and NGOs can’t tell us what to do,” he said.
Maumela called on those wanting to defend Zuma to go to the seats of government and leave their headquarters out of the equation. He added that they would defend their office against any attack or marchers.
He also accused party members defending Zuma of being criminals who are trying to avoid prosecution.
“BLM must match to Union Buildings or Parliament because Zuma is not President of the ANC. We then decided to defend Luthuli House. We don’t want Zuma and his group of thugs. All this Ministers who are protecting Zuma are doing so because they are criminals,” said Maumela.
He also indicated that the party does not owe BLF any explanation on what it does and they would not be engaging with Andile Mgxitama’s organisation. He said they lost the right to be engaged when they left the party to start the Congress of the People (Cope) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
“We can’t engage BLF. They are not people, they are cowards. We can’t engage cowards but comrades of the ANC who stood with us in difficult times,” he said.
Calls have been mounting for Zuma to go since Cyril Ramaphosa emerged victorious at the party’s December conference. Over the past few weeks there have been marathon meetings to convince him to step down, with the latest one having taken place on Sunday.
The meetings however seem to have not yielded the requires results. Opposition parties have also joined the bandwagon, saying Zuma should not deliver the State of the Nation address in Parliament.
Chaos broke out when a small group of Black First Land First members was met by sticks, fists and kicks as their bakkie arrived outside Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon.
ANC supporters did not even wait for them to get off the bakkie. They attacked them while they were still in the bakkie, forcing them to scatter in all directions.
Police intervened by pushing back the ANC supporters but the damage was already done. BLF members scattered in different directions.
Lazarus Maumela sent out a strong warning to BLF. He said try they would beat everyone of their members if they tried to come close to Luthuli House.
“What just happened now was a demonstration of how angry we are and the pain we are feeling. We are saying we don’t want anything to do with Zuma around here. Anyone who will stop us from that calling is provoking the ANC. We will deal with them. BLF, we are giving you a strong warning, don’t even come here. You can do your stockvel somewhere else but not here (Luthuli House).
A large crowd of BLF member’s arrived at Library Gardens but were stopped by police from going to Luthuli House. They sang and danced in the rain with police watching.
One member said they were there to stand up for Zuma.