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Mantashe accepts memorandum from protesting ANC members

The 'Occupy Luthuli House' group wants senior party leaders, including President Jacob Zuma to resign.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe at Luthuli House on 5 September, 2016. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe has asked members of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) not to give the "occupy Luthuli house" group free publicity.

Mantashe was speaking after receiving a memorandum from the protesting ANC members in the Johannesburg CBD a short while ago.

The "occupy Luthuli house" group wants senior party leaders, including President Jacob Zuma to resign, after the ANC lost control of key metros, including Johannesburg and Tshwane in the recent local government elections.

Earlier, members of the MKMVA said they would not allow supporters of the occupy Luthuli House anywhere near the ANC headquarters.

They also didn't want Mantashe to accept the protesters' memorandum.

There are two opposing groups on Beyers Naude Square in the Johannesburg CBD with police keeping a close watch.

Protesters were earleier being prevented from crossing the street towards Luthuli House.

Some Members of the MKMVA and Youth league blocked a road leading to the headquarters from Beyers Naude Square where demonstrators are.

#OccupyLuthuliHouse MKMVA Members art ask journalists. Call us "agents". WATCH CM pic.twitter.com/99274toPxK



#OccupyLuthuliHouse WATCH Scuffle as some MKMVA members don't want Mantashe to receive memorandum. CM pic.twitter.com/OUO5uUlqhx



#OccupyLuthuliHouse Mantashe here. CM pic.twitter.com/BqeDJFZNlC

Earlier this morning, MKMVA chair Kebby Maphatsoe confirmed the military wing had mobilised people to come and defend the ANC.

Maphatsoe said their job was to protest the ANC at all cost from opportunistic individuals.

"Look, we took a resolution in 2012 as MKMVA that we're going to defend black, green and gold at all times, so today it's one of the implementation of that resolution that when the ANC is going to be attacked, you must be the first to go out and defend the property of the ANC and the leadership of the ANC."

ANC JUSTIFIES HEIGHTENED SECURITY

The ANC said its decision to heighten security outside its headquarters in anticipation of the demonstration today was not unreasonable.

Organisers urged members of the public not to join today's demonstration due to safety concerns.

#OccupyLuthuliHouse some of the posters. CM pic.twitter.com/w1JPYRM0Xg

The ANC's Khusela Sangoni said initially the protest was not presented as a peaceful movement, prompting the deployment of more security.

"It was about occupying Luthuli House. It was not a peaceful demonstration to Luthuli House to just present their grievances and obviously with the threat of occupation like have been made. It's not unreasonable for the ANC to seek to protect Luthuli House in the sense."

But she said the party hopes for peaceful proceedings.

The ANCWL's Moekgo Matuba saids this is a cheap political stunt and their members will be at Luthuli House to defend the ANC.

WATCH: Tensions run high at #OccupyLuthuliHouse march

"We'll not allow them because they will find us there in Luthuli House waiting to defend the African National Congress. I don't want to be misquoted, defending the African National Congress and defending our revolution."

Before Mantashe accepted the memorandum, police had to arrange for the ANC secretary general to come out to receive the memorandum, surrounded by security.

One occupy Luthuli house supporter explained why he joined today's demonstration.

"We are members that are concerned because prior to the elections, we had a door-to-door campaign and a lot of voters said they were proud members of the ANC but they would not be voting for the ANC as a result of the Nkandla scandal."

The leaders of the MKMVA and the ANC Youth League leaders addressed a crowd, calling themselves defenders of Luthuli house.

They thanked the crowd for coming to protect and defend President Zuma.

The supporters of Occupy Luthuli house have now left Beyers Naude Square.

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