The Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) said it is ready to deal with any situation that may unfold outside the ANC’s headquarters in Johannesburg on Monday as “Hands off Zuma” protesters and a counter protest in support of Cyril Ramaphosa meet outside Luthuli House.

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar told News24: “All law enforcement agencies will deal with the situation as it unfolds,” as a protest in support of President Jacob Zuma’s continued stay as head of state and a counter protest to “defend” newly-elected party president Ramaphosa is planned for Monday.

The Hands off Zuma protest is organised by Black First Land First (BLF) and other organisations, whilst the counter march is organised by a group claiming to made up of African National Congress members from across SA.

“President Zuma is the head of state and deployed by the ANC. So, if they want to display their support for him, they must take their march to the Union Buildings,” Lele Sekete, convenor of the counter march, told News24.

“Why are they marching to Luthuli house?”

‘An enemy celebrates with you’

Last Friday, February 2, several organisations including BLF, said they would be leading a Hands Off Zuma march, claiming that his job is on the line because of his stance on radical economic transformation and land expropriation without compensation.

The group said it was marching to protect Zuma and not the ANC.

But Sekete said they were worried that the BLF, which is a political party, was celebrating “Zuma as a good president”.

“BLF is a registered political party which is an opposition to the ANC.
So, can you imagine marching to BLF offices, asking Andile Mngxitama to step down? We are advising them to deal with their president and we will deal with ours,” Sekete said.

“In life, you must be worried when an enemy celebrates with you. So, in this case we [are] worried that an opposition party is dictating to the ANC that President Zuma is the right president. We get very worried. It’s very scary,” Sekete said.

However, Bafana Nzuza‚ chair of the Unemployed People’s Trust which is part of the Hands Off Zuma protest said he was confused by the concerns of the planned picket outside Luthuli House as it will be peaceful.

He added that the protest was to put pressure on the ANC to do the right thing and not repeat the mistakes of the past, pointing out the recall of former President Thabo Mbeki. —News24