2017-04-06 18:15

MKMVA chair Kebby Maphatsoe. (Mahlatse Mphoentle Gallen, News24)

MKMVA chair Kebby Maphatsoe. (Mahlatse Mphoentle Gallen, News24)

Johannesburg – The Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association is defying the African National Congress and mobilising even more members to “stand guard” at party headquarters during Friday’s protests.

The association called on its members in other provinces, particularly Gauteng, to join the 600 expected to arrive from KwaZulu-Natal, and “protect” Luthuli House, president Kebby Maphatsoe said on Thursday.

The ANC earlier distanced itself from any marches to Luthuli House in protest against, or in defence of, the party.

Religious groups, civil society organisations and political parties were expected to stage marches across the country against President Jacob Zuma on Friday.

The Democratic Alliance had planned to march to Luthuli House, in central Johannesburg, but had since changed its route following threats of violence from the ANC Youth League.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said they would march peacefully against Zuma. He called on the ANC’s leaders and members to respect their democratic rights.

“We will not be intimidated by a handful of anti-democratic thugs,” Maimane said.

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Growing revolt

In 2016, MKMVA members clashed outside Luthuli House with ANC members who called for Zuma to resign.

This followed the ANC’s loss of support in the August local government elections, and the Constitutional Court’s judgment that Zuma failed to uphold the Constitution by refusing to repay some of the money spent on his Nkandla homestead.

“We will protect President Jacob Zuma, protect the staff of the ANC and the leadership collective of the ANC, especially now that they are preparing for the June policy conference,” Maphatsoe said.

He said the growing revolt against Zuma was nothing but an attempt to remove a democratically elected government.

“They can’t wait for 2019 to test whether the ANC has the support. We call upon them to stop cheap politicking calling for our president to resign.”

The MKMVA had defended Zuma’s decision to fire five ministers, including Pravin Gordhan, last Thursday. Zuma had done nothing wrong and it was his prerogative to fire ministers.

Maphatsoe claimed ANC leaders agreed with Zuma’s decision to reshuffle his Cabinet. He said a regime change agenda was being funded from overseas.