Joburg was brought to a standstill yesterday as hundreds of disgruntled ANC members marched and called on President Jacob Zuma to step down.
The protesters converged on Luthuli House, the ANC’s headquarters, where they were met by MK veterans in camouflage gear, who said they were “ready to defend the ANC” from dissenters.
The #OccupyLuthuliHouse protesters say Zuma must go, along with senior ANC members who they blamed the losses in the local government elections.
Sefako Sasabona, the founder of #OccupyLuthuliHouse, said the “current ANC” leadership does 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.
After a tense stand-off between #OccupyLuthuliHouse and members of the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) that lasted more than four hours, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe emerged from the building to receive their memorandum.
However, the MK vets pushed and shoved as they tried to prevent the protesters from handing over the document to Mantashe.
He then warned the MK veterans not to give “hooligans publicity” and he also warned against stifling dissenting voices.
“There must be no bloodshed, you have done what you were supposed to do [defend the ANC],” he said.
ANC members in yellow party T-shirts, loudly proclaiming that they would “defend the ANC”.
The MK vets formed a human barricade at the entrance of Luthuli House.
There was also a visible police presence, but the pushing and shoving continued.
Cecillia Lindiwe, a member of MK and ANC, said they were ready to fight the #OccupyLuthuliHouse movement if necessary.
“We have to protect the ANC, but also let Zuma finish his term as agreed and voted for by the ANC,” she told The Star.
The ANC has meetings every Monday at Luthuli House, but Zuma was away in China at the G20 Summit.
ANC supporters were seen running amok in the Joburg CBD, singing and dancing, as the police tried to block them from advancing further into the CBD.