In an apparent bid to mimic his predecessor Julius Malema’s militancy, ANC Youth League president Collen Maine on Saturday called on military veterans to take up arms for President Jacob Zuma.
The call by Maine, who is known as Oros in political circles, was made at a pro-Zuma march organised by the ANC’s eThekwini region on Saturday.
About 5 000 ANC supporters, led by eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, marched through the Durban CBD.
They denounced Zuma’s detractors, including Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema, DA leader Mmusi Maimane and business leader Sipho Pityana, all of whom have called on Zuma to step down.
“Comrades from Umkhonto weSizwe, bring your guns. Now is the time to defend the revolution,” said.
“We must do it. Generations that came before did it. They sacrificed their lives,” said Maine, who upped the ante even further with a direct call on military veterans to take up arms to defend Zuma.
Maine tore into Zuma’s detractors, calling them “snakes who surrounded” the president “trying to bring him down.
“You comrades must be strong. You must know the ANC Youth League will not allow anybody to take out Jacob Zuma,” he said.
The call mirrored Malema’s threat in 2008 “to take up arms and kill for Zuma”.
Maine’s comments came in response to a growing number of top ANC leaders, including some serving in the party’s national executive committee, who are openly supporting Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
The minister was summoned to court on fraud charges after a Hawks investigation, fuelling suspicion that this was being done at Zuma’s behest to remove Gordhan and clear the way for unfettered access to state enterprises and the controversial nuclear deal that will see the Gupta family businesses get a significant stake.
The eThekwini region has backed Zuma since his ascension to the ANC presidency in Polokwane.
Regional secretary Bheki Ntuli said it had called the march to rebut the rising tide of “the regime change” agenda spearheaded by “anti-revolutionary forces.
“We are tired of these insults and we will not stand idle in the face of this naked provocation,” Ntuli said, adding that the region and all ANC members around the country were ready to lay down their lives in defence of their democratically elected president.
Organisers delayed the start of the march by several hours to give time to people who were ferried to the venue from neighbouring townships to arrive so that they could live up to their calls for “the mother of all marches” in defence of the embattled Zuma.
Marchers wore T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “hands off Jacob Zuma” and waved miniature flags with Zuma’s picture and the same slogan, while former ANC military veterans, who led the march, carried a banner defending the president.
However, not all of KwaZulu-Natal backed the president on Saturday as some community organisations, including the Merebank Justice Network, held their own meetings to discuss the alleged campaign against Gordhan from the time the National Prosecuting Authority indicated its intention to charge him.
The activists planned to build on the public reaction and outpourings of support on social media for Gordhan.
The Active Citizenship Network, set up to coordinate civil society to support Gordhan, said it planned a consultation meeting with civil and other organisations to look at fundraising and organising a day of action when the finance minister and his colleagues appear in court on November 2.
“The campaign is being called under the auspices of the Active Citizens Movement. Their counterparts in Johannesburg have planned a protest march to show their support in and outside the court.”[Source: News24]