President Jacob Zuma and the ANC are now getting a taste of their own medicine with leaders being booed.
That’s according to the Congress of the People‚ which said on Sunday that booing of leaders was not something new in the ANC‚ but in fact started in Polokwane at the 2007 ANC Conference when “Zuma mobilised and instigated his unruly troops to boo Terror Lekota and Thabo Mbeki whenever they wanted to address the Conference”.
“Some of us who were part of the Conference in Polokwane protested very loud against the behaviour‚ said it was uncalled for and warned that the ANC was taking a wrong direction. We were then accused of being counter-revolutionaries when in fact we wanted to keep the moral base of the party‚” said COPE spokesman Dennis Bloem.
“In 2008 Lekota and some of us resigned from the ANC even though it was painful. We formed the Congress of the People (COPE) to keep alive the dreams of the Freedom Charter and defend the Constitution.
“The ANC leaders called us ‘dogs’ and ‘cockroaches’. Baleka Mbete was in the forefront of the vicious attacks at the time. Isn’t it ironic that Zuma and Mbete are tasting their own medicine?” Bloem added.
Years down the line‚ many seniors and ordinary members of the ANC and its alliance partners had conceded and supported that COPE were right and they were wrong‚ he said.
Bloem added: “COPE has a message to the ANC leaders including Ramaphosa that the poison of booing in the ruling party is contaminating the entire body of the ANC and it will not stop now‚ Zuma’s troops will continue to boo Ramaphosa. We also want to remind them that they didn’t bother lift a finger years ago when their troops booed Lekota and Mbeki.”
The Sunday Times reported that the sixth floor of the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters was the scene of a screaming match last week when Jessie Duarte tore a strip off secretary-general Gwede Mantashe following the booing of President Jacob Zuma at a Cosatu Workers’ Day rally.
The newspaper quoted ANC insiders as saying Duarte‚ who is deputy secretary-general‚ confronted Mantashe and shouted at him in the corridors in the presence of Luthuli House staff.
A staff member said an irate Duarte accused Mantashe of sending Zuma “out to the wolves” by deploying him to the rally despite several unions having asked that the president should not attend.
“It happened on Tuesday morning. Everyone was really shocked. I think Jessie is blaming Gwede for [the booing]‚” the source told the Sunday Times.
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