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Cape Town - The ANC has temporarily suspended seven members believed to be ringleaders of the poo protests in the Western Cape, pending a disciplinary hearing.
On Friday, Premier Helen Zille called for decisive action against 11 protesters after her team identified the group as the “task team” behind the campaign to make the city and province “ungovernable” in the run-up to next year’s general elections.
Three days later, the ANC’s provincial working committee decided on the suspensions of seven people, three of them on the DA list.
While Zille has welcomed the suspensions, the ANC refuted claims the move was triggered by her call, saying the committee met every fortnight.
ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile said: “This has nothing to do with Helen Zille. The poo wars are not an ANC-sanctioned campaign, so if our members claim to be part of this anarchy, action must be taken against them.”
The committee considered the matter and on Monday decided to temporarily suspend seven members until disciplinary proceedings against them had been completed.
“This is the result of continuous defiance of the organisational instruction to desist from engaging in activities that bring the ANC into disrepute.”
Mjongile said the party had suspended city councillor Loyiso Nkohla, Jaji Diniso, Sthembele Majova, Thembela Mbanjwa, Yanga Mjingwana, Bongani Ngcombolo and Bongile Zanazo in terms of the ANC constitution’s rule 25.60.
The suspended members are not to take part in ANC meetings or speak on the party’s behalf.
“The ANC has drawn a line in terms of how their members must conduct themselves. Any members who bring the party into disrepute will have to face the music,” he added.
Former ANC councillor Andile Lili, another alleged poo tosser, has already been suspended by the ANC for bringing the party into disrepute, following his expulsion from the City of Cape Town for breaching the councillors’ code of conduct.
He is challenging the decision in the Western Cape High Court.
Last year, Nkohla was disciplined by the party for disrupting a speech at the Good Hope Centre by President Jacob Zuma and suspended from the party. But the sanction itself was suspended for three years.
On Tuesday, Zille said: “We welcome the suspension of these seven ANC members for their role in the recent spate of faeces attacks. It sends the message that these disruptions to the N2 and danger to public health do have consequences.
“We now hope that police investigations will also proceed and result in criminal convictions so that it is made clear there such actions cannot be carried out with impunity and are not tolerated.”
When the Cape Argus contacted him, a “shocked” Nkohla said he was not aware of the suspensions.
Despite his suspension coming with a gagging order, Nkohla said they were to hold a press conference on Wednesday to reveal their alternative to the city’s portable flush toilets. They would give their views on the suspensions then.
Over the past few months, protesters have vented their frustration and rage at poor sanitation in informal settlements by flinging the contents of portable toilets at several provincial government buildings including the legislature, the Cape Town International Airport and on the N2.