The attack on an anti-corruption gathering in the North West this weekend was meant to silence “active citizens” who are on a mission to oust the province’s premier, Supra Mahumapelo.
This is according to the leaders of a civil society group, the Revolutionary Council, who were attacked at a meeting in Mafikeng on Saturday.
The attackers, the civil society organisation claims, were sent by supporters of Mahumapelo to break up the launch of the “Save North West” campaign.
The council says that it has the support of Cosatu and other trade unions, and is increasing its reach across the province to root out corruption once and for all.
“There is a war, corruption is rampant and we want to encourage the premier to resign,” Thato wa Magogodi told City Press earlier on Monday.
Magogodi, who is a former ANC Youth League leader in the North West, and Lucky Kgabi, a former member of Parliament, are intensifying their efforts to gather enough evidence against the North West premier and alleged cronies in order to have them removed.
Magogodi said that after the attacks on Saturday, it was clear that “there is a normalisation of mob attacks” in the North West.
Kgabi said that Saturday’s meeting was “not an ANC meeting”.
“I want to make it clear that Saturday’s meeting was not an ANC meeting. The narrative was that it was an ANC meeting but it was not. It was a civil society meeting,” Kgabi said.
The council, Magogodi said, was formed ahead of December’s ANC national elective conference.
“My name was removed from the register of my branch when I was supposed to attend the elective conference at Nasrec in December. But the work against corruption is continuing. They want to silence those who are vocal about corruption and putting an end to it,” Magogodi said.
An online register is being launched where members of society can anonymously report issues of crime and corruption at both municipal and government level.
“We are in the process of gathering as much evidence as we can, and we are going to present it to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in order to remove the premier. We are encouraging active citizenry,” Magogodi said.
Following the attacks over the weekend, the pair and other members of the revolutionary council fled the North West to seek safety.
“Things are very volatile. These thugs are being paid with money, drugs and food, and obviously the poor will take that to disrupt our gatherings,” he said.
“The winds of change are coming. People on the ground are going to raise issues of corruption. Corruption is a national cancer and the balance of forces has changed,” he said.
City Press was unable to get a hold of the ANC in the North West, but in a statement released earlier on Monday, deputy provincial secretary Suzan Dantjie said: “We discourage any gatherings that may see comrades provoking each other and resulting in what happened on Saturday. Nevertheless, we do not condone violence, regardless of who’s right or who’s wrong.
“We call on comrades to deal with each other with respect and acknowledge that the ANC allows freedom of expression, therefore there would always be some difference of opinion, no matter who’s in the leadership.”
Meanwhile, over the weekend, the ANC in the province accused the group of trying to destabilise the province while pushing for the removal of Mahumapelo.
“The ANC in the province is aware of a group that masquerades as anti-corruption activists and wants to cause unease in the province with claims that they’re fighting corruption by our provincial chairperson, Comrade Supra Mahumapelo.
“This group – led by some within our party – has been going around lobbying people to join and support their actions,” the party said.
“We are fully aware that this group’s main intention is to destabilise the province and hope that by so doing, they will force the removal of Comrade Supra as premier of the province.
“We condemn their actions and the use of ANC colours in the agenda that’s clearly self-serving and has got nothing to do with the party.”