Hundreds burn ANC cards in Paarl

By Lynnette Johns Time of article published Oct 26, 2008

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Hundreds of Boland ANC supporters surrendered their party membership on Saturday, and more resignations are expected in Plettenberg Bay and Citrusdal today (on Sunday) as people prepare to sign up for former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota's South African National Congress, to be launched on the Day of Reconciliation.

Lekota is expected to address thousands of people today at a rally at the Ikhwezi Community Centre in Gugulethu, a traditional ANC stronghold and the stomping ground of provincial ANC leader Mcebisi Skwatsha.

Former ANC spokesperson and national executive committee member Smuts Ngonyama is expected to join Lekota at the rally this afternoon.

Last month ANC members accused Ngonyama of bankrolling Lekota in the build-up to the launch of the new party.

Today's (Sunday's) mass rally will be the final meeting in the Western Cape before Lekota's convention next Sunday in either Bloemfontein or Pretoria.

The convention will culminate in the launching of a new party, expected to be called the South African National Congress, on December 16, the Day of Reconciliation and a day originally commemorated as the anniversary of the historic Battle of Blood River, in which the Voortrekkers defeated the Zulus.

On Saturday hundreds of people were bused to the sports field in Mbekweni, Paarl, where they symbolically dropped ANC membership forms and their cards into a cardboard box.

After the meeting, the box was set alight. People also filled in what appeared to be membership forms for the SANC.

Today's meetings in Plettenberg Bay and Citrusdal are expected to be attended by hundreds of people, who will also resign from the ANC.

Danile Landingwe, Robben Island veteran and chairman of the ANC's disciplinary committee in the Western Cape for 14 years, was joined by former mayor of Tygerberg Clifford Sitonga and Moegamat Majiet, former provincial executive member.

All three have resigned from the ANC and spoke candidly about why, citing corruption in the lead-up to the provincial conference last month.

Landingwe said the ANC had to be blamed for "forcing us out".

Another ANC veteran, Lizzie Phike, 70, said after yesterday's meeting she had been a member of the ANC for most of her life but had lately felt increasingly isolated in her party.

Leaving the ANC was not as sad as she had anticipated - she said the worst of the hurt and sadness had been while she watched the party's values erode over the past few years.

But for Nomaza Gexa of Mbekweni it was a different matter: "Leaving the ANC is a very painful thing, but I did not have another choice."

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