ANC Women's League 'shocked' by speech disruption

The ANC Women’s League has condemned the disruption of President Jacob Zuma’s centenary address in Cape Town on Thursday.

“This ill-discipline has just gone too far and must stop now unless we want to spit at the graves of those who made selfless sacrifices for us to be where we are today,” ANC Women’s League president Angie Motshekga said in a statement on Friday.
The league would approach the ANC’s national disciplinary committee and demand “the harshest sanction” against those responsible, said spokesperson Troy Martens.

“The ANCWL is shocked and appalled at the disgusting behaviour displayed by some rogue elements,” Martens said.

“The disrespect shown for the African National Congress was a disgrace and the perpetrators should be ashamed of their actions. We should not allow these people, who call themselves comrades, to defame the ANC in any way.”

Earlier on Friday, the ANC Youth League denied its members disrupted the speech because of differences with ANC leaders.

“This notion is conclusively incorrect and spread by opponents of ANC unity, particularly as it celebrates 100 years of existence,” league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu said in a statement.

He said the disruption was caused by members of the ANC.

“The ... league condemns such actions and calls on all members of the ANC to respect leadership and choose correct platforms to express their frustrations and disapproval of some among the leadership,” Shivambu said.

The Mail & Guardian reported on Thursday the crowd sang: “Zuma uph’ uJuju, hayi asiphelelanga” (Zuma, where’s Juju? We are incomplete).

The Young Communist League of SA (YCLSA) said the disruption needed to be condemned by “all committed revolutionary forces”.

“To spit at the memory of a legacy of the ANC should be cursed and the perpetrators should be ... rooted out of the ANC, its structures and its allies, as these are the parasites that suck the life out of our glorious movement,” YCLSA spokesperson Mangaliso Khonza said in statement.

He said those trying to disrupt the address had been “rented” by individuals within the ANC.

“This rented mob, hooligans and thugs are beyond redemption and upon positively being identified, should be expelled from the movement with immediate effect.”

Two people were arrested following the disruption at the Good Hope Centre.

At the time, the SABC reported that several youth league members were thrown out of the centre when they started singing during Zuma’s speech.

Cameraman Rudi le Roux was hit with a chair while filming an anti-Zuma protest outside the venue.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the attack on Le Roux was “regrettable”.

ANC chief whip Mathole Motshekga called Le Roux on Friday morning and apologised on behalf of the party.

“We are pleased that Mr Le Roux has been discharged from hospital following his admission yesterday,” Motshekga’s office said in a statement.

The Cape Town Press Club said the attack against Le Roux illustrated the ANC’s stance against the media.

“This incident is a consequence of the vilification of the media from within the ruling party,” it said.

“It has provided the licence to unruly elements to vent their anger against the media, who unlike the president, are not protected by a field of armed bodyguards.”

Speaking in Johannesburg earlier on Thursday, Zuma said the youth league was an integral part of the ANC and not a “spare wheel”. It should present ideas to the ANC itself and within ANC structures. Unless its proposals were accepted by the ANC, they were not ANC policy, he said.

On February 16, youth league deputy president Ronald Lamola said its president Julius Malema would not be removed from his position by any other than the league structures.

Malema, Shivambu, league secretary general Sandiso Magaqa, Lamola, and two other officials were found guilty in November of bringing the ANC into disrepute and of sowing division in the party. They are awaiting the outcome of arguments in mitigation and aggravation of their suspensions, which range from 18 months to five years.—Sapa

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