A march to Union Buildings to call for President Jacob Zuma’s resignation was delayed on Monday after organisers say they were threatened by a group of young men carrying weapons.
The march, which was announced over the weekend, was treated with disdain by both the South African Communist Party (SACP) and the ANC in Gauteng, with both parties distancing themselves from the protest.
The march was advertised in a poster on social media that used both the ANC and SACP logos.
Organisers promised that on Monday morning, a large number of protesters would arrive in 60 buses and march to Union Buildings from Burgers Park in Pretoria. But, no one has arrived at the park.
Hangwi Maumela, who says he is an ANC member in Gauteng, said that the protest would continue, but there had been threats made against protesters which delayed the start.
“The march is continuing, though we have a threat of a truck coming with boys with firearms. But we are continuing. We are going to be calling our people to come back to the venue. We are not going to go until Zuma gets out,” Maumela told the Mail & Guardian.
“We saw them. I saw the truck. They came as we were standing and they threatened us. We have the number plates and everything. We will open the case [with the police],” he said.
Maumela said the incident happened at a hotel near Burgers Park. He does not know who is responsible for the threats.
The ANC in Gauteng condemned the march in a statement over the weekend. The party questioned whether the organisers of the march, who held a press conference announcing their protest over the weekend, held legitimate membership in the ANC, and discouraged other ANC members from participating.
“The ANC calls on its members, supporters and society at large not to heed this irresponsible and reckless call by these individuals who have no mandate to speak on behalf of the ANC or any of its members and structures,” the party said.
“We have further noted that certain individuals alleged to be ANC members, clad in ANC regalia, took part in an unmandated press briefing by the individuals in question earlier today. The province has given a directive to its regions to embark on the process of verifying their membership status and to institute disciplinary actions for any transgression and violation of the ANC code of conduct.”
The ANC expressed its confidence in the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to resolve the quagmire around Zuma’s exit from leadership.
The NEC is meeting on Monday afternoon after ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and Zuma have been meeting during the past week to negotiate Zuma’s exit. The meeting is expected to deal decisively with either Zuma’s resignation or his recall.
UPDATE: News24 reports that the march has been cancelled because of threats levelled against the organisers.
Self proclaimed ANC member and organizer of the #ZumaMustGo march says the march has been called off because they were threatened by people wielding guns in trucks and taxis. Also says he met with 6 NEC members who asked him to hold of on the march until Tuesday @TeamNews24
— Alex Mitchley (@AlexMitchley) February 12, 2018