ANC warns as Lekota heads to Gauteng

The African National Congress (ANC) will take disciplinary action against any member seen to be mobilising for the formation of a splinter party, a spokesperson said on Wednesday.

The warning came as organisers of a public meeting with former ANC chairperson Mosiuoa Lekota, to be held on Thursday in Orange Farm, Gauteng, said they expect more than 4 000 people to attend.

Lekota, former deputy defence minister Mluleki George and former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa are organising a national convention on November 2 to discuss the possibility of a breakaway party.

Organiser Nicholas Mjempu said Thursday’s would probably be the only public meeting in Gauteng ahead of the national convention.

“This is the only meeting for Gauteng ... It is because we have so many commitments to other areas. Today [Wednesday] comrade Terror [Lekota] is in the Eastern Cape and by the weekend he will be in the Northern Cape,” he said.

The ANC’s Brian Sokutu said in a statement on Wednesday: “We want to send a warning that we will not allow our structures anywhere in the country to be used to undermine the organisation ... the ANC will take disciplinary action against any member who mobilises for the formation of a new organisation in opposition to the ANC.”

He said the ANC has noted with “utter disgust” the rising levels of political intolerance shown by supporters of the “Lekota-George-Shilowa” group.

“If burning of ANC flags in the Free State and elsewhere in the country is anything to go by, we wonder what the group hopes to achieve by sending a message of hate and violence to potential voters,” Sokutu said.

He said the ANC will not interfere with the groups campaigning for the convention and the formation of a political party, adding that the ANC embraces the principle of multiparty democracy and will accommodate the formation of new parties.

“The practice of multiparty democracy accommodates the formation of new parties and this is the core of democracy [for] which many South Africans sacrificed their lives for during apartheid,” Sokutu said.

Invitations to attend Thursday’s Gauteng meeting have been sent to churches and community groups in Orange Farm, Sebokeng, Evaton, Finetown and surrounding areas.

“We are expecting more than 4 000 people to attend. I arranged buses to pick up people,” said Mjempu.

The meeting will give Lekota some idea of the strength of support he enjoys in Gauteng since his announcement that he was serving divorce papers on the ANC.

Lekota was among a string of Cabinet ministers who resigned out of loyalty to former president Thabo Mbeki, who was removed from office by the new ANC leadership elected at the party’s Polokwane national conference in December.—Sapa

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