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Counter march to defend Ramaphosa against Hands Off Zuma campaigners

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A counter march, to “defend” the ANC’s headquarters and newly elected party president Cyril Ramaposa is being planned for Monday.

The march is to be held to counter a Hands Off Zuma planned protest by Black First Land First (BLF) and other organisations, defending President Jacob Zuma’s continued stay as head of state.

A group, claiming to be made up of ANC members from across South Africa, told News24 that they will be at Luthuli House on Monday.

“President Zuma is a head of state and deployed by the ANC. So, if they want to display their support to him, they must take their march to the Union Buildings.

“Why are they marching to Luthuli house?” Lele Sekete, convenor of the counter march, told News24.

On Friday, several organisations including BLF, said they would be leading a Hands Off Zuma march, claiming that his job is on the line because of his stance on radical economic transformation and land expropriation without compensation.

The group said it was marching to protect Zuma and not the ANC.

But Sekete said they were worried that BLF, which is a political party, was celebrating “Zuma as a good president”.

“BLF is a registered political party which is an opposition to the ANC. So, can you imagine marching to BLF offices, asking Andile Mngxitama to step down? We are advising them to deal with their president and we will deal with ours,” Sekete said.

“In life, you must be worried when an enemy celebrates with you. So, in this case we [are] worried that an opposition party is dictating to the ANC that President Zuma is the right president. We get very worried. It’s very scary,” Sekete said.

The protests come as the top six, led by Ramaphosa, is expected to meet with Zuma to urge him to step down.

They are under renewed pressure from the party’s national working committee that met on Monday, with some members demanding that Zuma steps down before the State of the Nation Address on Thursday.

Earlier, chairperson Gwede Mantashe told News24 that they will be meeting with Zuma to discuss his options.

Top six divided

Zuma could face an impeachment process and is scheduled to be the subject of a motion of no confidence on February 22. The motion was brought by the Economic Freedom Fighters.

ANC insiders have said that more ANC members will vote with the opposition if a secret ballot is granted.

Zuma’s job has been on the line since Ramaphosa was elected party president in December. He preferred Ramaphosa’s rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is also his ex-wife.

The national executive committee gave the instruction to party’s top six to “manage Zuma’s exit”.

The top six is divided, with secretary general Ace Magashule and deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte quoted saying that Zuma will finish his term.

This, despite concerns that his continued stay as head of state will endanger the ANC’s chances in the 2019 elections.

The group defending the newly elected leadership under Ramaphosa has written to Magashule, informing him of the march. But, by late Friday, they had not received a response.

In the letter, the group said there is “no opposition or NGO that will dictate to the ANC” and it has vowed to camp at Luthuli House in Braamfontein from Sunday evening.

It also invited the party’s Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans and Youth League to “defend” Luthuli House.

“The ANC is the one that deployed President Zuma, not South Africans. Therefore, it is the ANC which will decide on whether he should step down or not. So, no opposition or NGO will dictate to the ANC,” the letter said.

[Source: News24]
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