Top ANCYL man 'organised riot'

2011-09-04 10:26

Johannesburg - Here he is - the ANC Youth League’s “general” who orchestrated last week’s march on the ­ruling party’s headquarters.

His name is Jacob Lebogo, the youth league’s Limpopo secretary and a trusted ally of league president Julius Malema.

City Press can reveal that ­Lebogo was the ringleader and chief organiser of the most violent ANC protest since 1994. 

Lebogo ordered hundreds of young lions to storm the ruling party’s head office as part of the youth league’s revolt against the ANC’s decision to charge Malema and his colleagues with misconduct.

City Press interviewed nine sources who either attended the march or were briefed about developments afterwards.

Running battles

All nine confirmed that Lebogo was the “general” who marshalled the youth league “troops” that fought running battles with the ­police and tried to stone their way into Luthuli House.

They claimed he also co-ordinated funding from politicians and businesspeople sympathetic to Malema to pay for buses that ­ferried thousands of league members to Johannesburg. 

Malema and his colleagues have consistently attempted to distance themselves from the protests. 

Lebogo has vehemently denied ordering the young lions to cause chaos. “These [eyewitnesses] are malicious. We are the ones who were telling people that they must behave. We were working with the police,” he said.

- A youth league Limpopo ­subregional leader said Lebogo’s strategy was revealed during the league’s emergency meeting in Polokwane last Tuesday. 

Save Malema

There, he urged members to stage a counter-march against ­Cosatu’s recent ­protest in Polokwane and to do everything in their power to save Malema when they arrived in Johannesburg.

“He [Lebogo] said Cosatu would be marching against our government and, as members of the league, we must ensure that the march does not happen. He said members of the league who were employed should take leave for the days of Julius’ disciplinary hearing and the march.” 

- A Capricorn ANC regional leader who was briefed by youth leaders who took part in the march, said some of the stones hurled had been collected from Botlokwa ­village outside Polokwane. 

“People told us the bus left Botlokwa at 03:00 for Johannesburg. The stones were collected from GaMasubelele,” the leader said. 

- An eyewitness at the march said: “At 08:55 he [Lebogo] addressed [youth league] members [at Beyers Naude Square]. 

Chaos

He said, ‘We have parks where we all come from. We did not come to Jozi to sit in the park. We don’t know why we are being separated from our leadership. We are going to push the police back. We are going to Luthuli House.’ Shortly after, the chaos started.”

- A Johannesburg-based league member said: “[Lebogo] said: Let us go to Luthuli House. Obviously, he provoked them. Two minutes after his statement, people started fighting with the police.”

- Said a league leader from the Northern Cape: “Of course he will deny it, but he is the one who said we must go there.”

- A Limpopo regional leader confirmed Lebogo gave orders, but says she agreed with him: “He said ‘let’s march to Luthuli House’. He was right. I think it was a powerful statement.” 

Police crime intelligence has opened a formal investigation into who organised the march and whether the violence was preplanned. Charges of incitement of violence may follow if the culprits are identified.

Criminal charges

The Gauteng provincial government has laid criminal charges against the league for vandalising its roads and transport building. Eighteen windows were broken.

The police said they had ­identified rioters through video footage and that arrests were ­imminent. 

The ANC is probing who funded the protest, including at least R1.2m allegedly spent on transporting Malema’s supporters on 54 taxis and buses, and has called on provinces to act against the culprits involved in Tuesday’s fracas. 

The Eastern Cape ANC said they were identifying members who participated in the protest and would take disciplinary steps against them. 

Malema lost his battle to quash the charges against him and the ANC announced that his hearing would resume next week Sunday.  

Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  ancyl  |  julius malema  |  jacob lebogo  |  johannesburg  |  polokwane  |  politics
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