ANC soldiers block Occupy Luthuli House group

A group of just over 100 protesters marching to the national office of the ANC in Johannesburg for the resignation of President Jacob Zuma has been blocked.

Earlier, organisers of the Occupy Luthuli House march had reported fearing for “the lives of ordinary people”.

“We wish to reiterate that as organisers we have every intention to go to Luthuli House as planned and we will not retaliate against any provocation of violence. However, given the severity of the violent threats, we want to appeal to the multitudes of people who confirmed that they will join us this morning not to come,”  group spokesman Sasabona Manganye said in a statement on Monday morning.

The scene outside the party’s headquarters in was a different scene – with heavy public order police presence and defenders of the Luthuli House.

On late Monday morning, after the group had gathered at Johannesburg CDB’s Beyers Naude Square, members of the uMkhonto we Sizwe blocked the way leading up to the party’s headquarters in President and Sauer Streets and vowed they would allow nobody to pass.

The party’s military wing said they could not allow the group to pass and occupy their headquarters in demand of the removal of their President and “it just doesn’t make sense,” an MK member said on late Monday afternoon.

MK, ANCYL and ANCWL members sang struggle songs outside Luthuli House and said the demand of the Occupy Luthuli House protesters for Zuma to step down as President together with his national executive committee was not “a legitimate move” and there were internal process “to do this,” ANCYL President Collen Maine said.

Occupy Luthuli House organisers want Zuma’s ANC national executive committee to resign, saying the NEC failed to hold him accountable for corruption and “killing the party”.

The group asked cops to make a way for them to meet Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe and hand over a memorandum but MK members refused.

“President Jacob Zuma in 2012 gave us the battle orders,” leader of the ANC’s military wing Kebby Maphatsoe said during the standoff.

“And one of the orders is to protect the ANC at all costs,” he said. “We will be at the forefront of defending the ANC and its leadership,” he added.

When more members of the Defend Luthuli House began to go up the street and gather at Beyers Naude Square, police separated the two groups.

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MK members didn’t want Mantashe to take anything from the group but just before noon, Mantashe, surrounded by a group of MK members, made his way to the Beyers Naude Square to receive a memorandum from the group.

“We listen to every voice,” Mantashe said after he received the memorandum.

By the afternoon there was reportedly still heavy police presence outside Luthuli House

and members of the party singing struggle songs outside the party’s headquarters.

(edited by MLM)

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