Smuts Ngonyama cuts ties with ANC

Former African National Congress (ANC) communications chief Smuts Ngonyama will resign from the ruling party on Thursday, he said.

”I’m resigning today [Thursday],” Ngonyama said.

”I’ve spoken to the secretary general of the ANC, Mr Gwede Mantashe, and I have informed him.

”I will be sending my resignation letter,” said Ngonyama.

He was expected to make the announcement at press conference later on Thursday, organised by the breakaway Congress of the People (COP) party, which is led by former ANC heavyweights Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa.

Reasons for his resignation will be disclosed in a media statement, said Ngonyama.

The ANC on Thursday said it ”welcomed without any regrets” the resignation of its former chief of communications.

”Smuts Ngonyama tendered his resignation to the ANC today [Thursday]. The ANC accepts and welcomes his resignation without any regrets. We wish him luck in this further endeavours,” the ANC said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the ANC will oppose the name of the breakaway party, the COP, a spokesperson said on Tuesday.

”If they register their name with the IEC [Independent Electoral Commission], that’s when the opposition will start,” said ANC spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi.

The ANC national working committee (NWC) said in a statement it decided the ANC needed to protect its heritage.

”With regard to the attempt of a group led by Mbhazima Shilowa and Mosiuoa Lekota to call themselves ‘Congress of the People’, the NWC decided that the ANC has a responsibility to protect the history of the organisation.

”The ANC will therefore oppose any attempt by any persons to appropriate the political heritage of the ANC to advance their own political ambitions.”

The statement said the Congress of the People in 1955 was ”where the Freedom Charter was adopted after ANC volunteers — together with volunteers from the South African Indian Congress, the Congress of Democrats and the Coloured People’s Congress — had collected and collated the views of thousands of South Africans.”

It was an ”important and iconic event” in the life of the ANC. — Sapa

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