Gauteng ANC denies it was behind the booing of Jacob Zuma

2013-12-11 18:02

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The Gauteng ANC has asked for a meeting with the party’s national leadership over the booing of President Jacob Zuma by mourners at Nelson Mandela’s memorial yesterday.

The leadership of the party in Gauteng met last night and decided that provincial leaders should meet at Luthuli House because the blame for the rowdy behaviour of some mourners at the service is now being put on Gauteng.

A senior source in the Gauteng ANC leadership said the province would ask the party’s headquarters why the blame for the booing was being heaped on them when they were sidelined in the organising of the memorial.

The buses that were supposed to ferry Gauteng ANC supporters were apparently cancelled at the last minute because the service provider was not paid, the source said.

Usually, the party organises the busing of supporters during state events even though this is not done officially and openly.

The supporters are often seated at the stadiums by their regions so that their regional leaders and coordinators can step in when they misbehave, said the source.

“We are asking why the buses were not allocated even after we were assured of buses. We are unhappy because the stadium was empty. We could have filled that stadium,” said the source.

Last night, Gauteng ANC secretary David Makhura condemned the booing on Twitter, saying “we are certain that perpetrators of this heinous act of disrespect are not members of the ANC”.

Yesterday, ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu told City Press that Zuma’s booing had come “as a bolt from the blue”.

“We never expected it as the African National Congress. We condemn it,” Mthembu said.

There is speculation that the behaviour of the mourners could intensify calls within the ANC for the provincial leadership to be disbanded.

Gauteng ANC spokesperson Nkenke Kekana would not comment about the cancellation of the buses, but said the provincial ANC had apologised to its members who were left stranded at various collection points.

Kekana denied that the province had a hand in orchestrating the jeering, saying provincial chairperson Paul Mashatile had joined former police commissioner Bheki Cele in persuading the mourners not to heckle Zuma during the delivery of his speech.

“Part of the reason the president’s speech was successful was because of the intervention by Cele and Mashatile,” he said.

Mthembu said he was not aware of a planned meeting with Gauteng, but said it would not be “unthinkable” for the ANC to meet as it does so often with its provinces.

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