RET Champions group vows to boo Ramaphosa at ANC manifesto launch
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule says he believes that party members will behave themselves when they descend upon Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium for the launch of the ANC's election manifesto this weekend.
"It's not supposed to happen. It's a wrong thing to do. Disciplined members of the ANC don't do that," he said.
His comments come amid fears that some attendees will boo or disrupt party president Cyril Ramaphosa as he delivers his maiden election manifesto and January 8 statement.
The ANC secretary general spoke on the side-lines of a memorial lecture in honour of one of the party's founders, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, at Inanda Seminary on Thursday night.
Magashule, who was joined by former Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini, Ethekwini chairperson Zandile Gumede and Umkhonto we Sizwe national executive committee member Carl Niehaus, was also flanked by some of former president Jacob Zuma's bishops and Sifiso Mahlangu, an analyst on the now defunct Gupta-founded ANN7 news channel.
Watershed elective conference
Earlier, he warned members against seeking positions and urged them to focus on serving the people first and respecting the role of branches in the ANC.
He said the party, which celebrated 107 years this week, was the closest it has been since its watershed elective conference in Nasrec, Johannesburg in December 2017.
But he admitted that if Ramaphosa was going to be booed, he wouldn't be the first to experience such resistance.
"This is not the first time that there have been issues amongst membership throughout the history of the ANC and the ANC is still alive today," he said.
This week, KwaZulu-Natal ANC Youth League chairperson Kwazi Mshengu told Ramaphosa at a rally in honour of former league leader Peter Mokaba that the "enemy" wanted them to boo him at the manifesto launch.
Several leaders in KZN told News24 that angry Zuma supporters might attempt to rally people from areas such as Inanda, which is a Zuma stronghold, to boo Ramaphosa. Others claimed that there was an attempt to have the former president walk into the stadium after the incumbent.
"There are still angry Zuma supporters, who they have been trying to organise to demonstrate when the president is speaking," said one regional leader.
Another provincial leader said people dubbed the Radical Economic Transformation (RET) Champions would be "tasked" with different "assignments" they must perform.
"After their assignments are complete, they must just leave that stadium and go to the beach," said a provincial leader, who did not want to be named.
Nkosentsha Shezi, a pro-Zuma funeral parlour boss and the main driver of the RET Champions, said he would be at the manifesto launch on Saturday.
He said numerous members of the party who believed in radical economic transformation were not happy with the ANC.
"RET is a policy of the ANC in general. Everyone who believes in the RET is waiting for implementation [and] are really unhappy," he said to News24.
He added that the new leadership collective of the ANC had not implemented a single resolution adopted at the Nasrec conference. Instead, it took a decision to remove Zuma as the head of state.
When asked if they would boo Ramaphosa, Shezi said they would.
"Whenever we gather as comrades, we sing songs, chant slogans, which has always been the culture of the organisation, even to show dissatisfaction," Shezi said.
Magashule, who wasn't sure of the sanctions members should face for ill-discipline, said the role of leaders in the organisation was to teach members the correct politics.
He insisted that theirs was to defend the president of the party.
"Let's see what happens, I'm very confident that there will be respect to our president and to the entire leadership of the collective," said Magashule.
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