Johannesburg - Infighting in Black First Land First (BLF) on Monday intensified as a letter saying party leader Andile Mngxitama had been suspended emerged.
This came after Siphesihle Jele, the suspended secretary-general of BLF, posted the letter in which he claimed Mngxitama was not a legitimate member of the party until he was able to prove his membership and also prove which of the organisation’s branches he belonged to.
In his letter, Jele claimed that Mngxitama and Shantha Balashkrina were not legitimate members of the party until such a time that they could prove their membership and which branches they hailed from.
Jele said that he had been falsely accused by “a host of non-members of the organisation” of forming a labour union using BLF’s database.
“These non-members must be reminded that the membership forms are with branch and regional secretaries. The office of the secretary-general gets a database from those structures. These non-members don’t know this because they never joined the organisation they claim to lead,” he wrote.
Jele said he was willing to submit himself to the internal disciplinary processes of the organisation, but that before engaging in that process, Mngxitama should first prove that he was a legitimate BLF member.
Jele said that his suspension was based on allegations that he had been part of forming a union called Ilawu in June last year.
“They linked me to the formation of the union and lied, saying I stole membership of BLF to form the union, which is very embarrassing coming from them, because they should know what the process of forming a union is before making such allegations.”
However, speaking about the letter posted, Mngxitama on Monday said: “(BLF’s Twitter account) was hacked, we believe by people working with Jele.”
He later said the account had been fully recovered and added that Jele was lying because he had a legitimate membership card which lapses next year, and that his branch was in ward 34 in Yeoville, Johannesburg.
He said Jele had not, in any form, asked him for his membership, and that there were no witnesses to Jele’s claims and that he just wanted to tarnish the BLF’s name. He said Jele had been suspended three weeks ago and that he was facing “numerous serious charges” and was set to appear before a disciplinary committee which was dealing with that matter.
“He must answer those serious charges that have been levelled against him, and not deflect attention by lying - because he is lying. I don’t want to charge him in the media because the disciplinary committee is dealing with them,” Mngxitama said.