Occupy Luthuli House mishandled by ANC leadership – Pityana

2016-09-16 08:21
Sipho Pityana. (Pic: News24)

Sipho Pityana. (Pic: News24)

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Johannesburg – Long-serving ANC member Sipho Pityana says the ANC leadership failed in its handling of the Occupy Luthuli House demonstration.

"[The] incident highlighted the death of internal democracy in the ANC. Why do you respond like that? Why didn't you engage with the young people in the build-up to this?"

The youngsters who decided to take a stand and make their feelings about the president of the ANC heard are very inspiring, said Pityana, even though he didn't agree with their strategic approach to the campaign. The demonstration was held on September 5.

He also urged other members of the ANC to learn from those who took a stand, claiming it was time to pick up from where they left off.

Pityana shocked many when he made an impassioned plea for Zuma to step down at Reverend Makhenkhesi Stofile's funeral last month, claiming he was a man without integrity and thus not fit to continue serving the country as its first citizen.

He also criticised leaders in the ANC for being in denial about both the state of the party and South Africa.

Pityana also shared his thoughts on the level of security around the ANC headquarters during the demonstration.

"I was appalled. I have immense respect for the MK [uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans' Association], its role and contribution to SA's liberation, but to reduce and project that glorious formation of our movement into a vigilante group to marshal and...put down young protesters is really a worrying reflection of the times we are in," he told News24 from his offices in Johannesburg.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, accompanied by MK vets, received the memorandum of demand from the group and met with them a week later for further engagement on their demands but Pityana said he would have acted differently on the day of the protest, were he in Mantashe's shoes.

"If I was the SG I would have refused to be accompanied by them; would have told them off. We are a democratic state. If there was a threat to peace and stability, there are police to ensure there is order and that all who take part do so within the framework of the rules – not for MK veterans to be involved in something like that

Pityana is currently lobbying various formations, including business and church groups, to have more public conversations around Zuma and calls for him to step down.

Read more on:    anc  |  ancyl  |  sipho pityana  |  johannesburg  |  politics

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