ANC members arrive to protect Luthuli House

Buses from KwaZulu-Natal have dropped off members of the party’s MKMVA who are lining up and have formed a barrier around the ANC headquarters.

MKMVA members guard the ANC's Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg. Picture: Clement Manyathela/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Hundreds of African National Congress (ANC) members have joined the party’s military veterans association outside Luthuli House on Friday morning in support of President Jacob Zuma, while Democratic Alliance members have also come out in their numbers in central Johannesburg, calling on the president to step down.

The demonstrations come after a controversial Cabinet reshuffle and the country’s credit rating downgrade to junk status.

Buses from KwaZulu-Natal have dropped off members of the party’s MKMVA who are lining up and have formed a barrier around the ANC headquarters.

The military veteran’s wing in KwaZulu-Natal did indicate earlier this week that it would deploy 600 combat-ready former guerrillas to defend the party’s headquarters.

They said they would defend Luthuli House against what they called the enemy marching to demand Zuma’s resignation.

ANC spokesperson Khusela Sangoni says they know about this gathering.

“I think as members of the ANC, we regard, particularly the march by the Democratic Alliance, as sending signals of an organizational that is contemptuous of the African National Congress and its leadership.”

Other ordinary ANC members are also gathered here.

A stage has been set up a few meters from where the defenders of the president will be addressed later but at this stage it’s unclear who will address them.

Acting National Police Commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane says he’s not worried about MK military veterans and ANC members gathering around Luthuli House, as long as their gathering is peaceful.

Phahlane says enough officers have been deployed to the various points.

“We just call upon everyone who’s participating in any of the activities today to obey the laws of our country and be responsible citizens. We’ll not be in anyone’s way to express their views.”

DA spokesperson Mabine Seabe says this is not just about the DA.

“We must see that this is not just a DA march, this is a people’s march and people across South Africa have been marching and they want to see change.”

MKMVA left Mabel Gweqana says they are simply here to defend the party's headquarters from harm.

“We’re here to protest the headquarters of the African National Congress from any harm that may arise from the march that’s led by the DA.”

(Edited by Leeto by Leeto M Khoza)