JOHANNESBURG - Just hours after the ANC condemned the early morning torching of its Sedibeng regional office, a group of about 50 - mostly women all dressed in party regalia - descended on the headquarters, Luthuli House where they held a vociferous protest.
The women, who said they were from Sedibeng, sang songs demanding that Gauteng Premier David Makhura remove the mayor they said he imposed on them.
The ANC Women's League had written to the party's national structures to inform them that they would stage a protest outside Luthuli House.
Although the protest was peaceful, the women blocked two lanes of the street in front of the ANC headquarters. Many of them carried printed placards calling for the mayor of Sedibeng to be removed. The protest lasted about two hours.
Hours earlier the Sedibeng regional offices of the ANC were set alight in the early hours by "unknown arsonists", the ruling party said on Monday.
"The ANC Gauteng Province condemns in the strongest possible terms acts of criminality by unknown arsonists who burned our Sedibeng regional offices in the early hours of this morning," said the ANC in a statement issued by Tasneem Motara, the PEC Spokesperson.
"At this stage the report we have from the caretaker, who was in the property at the time, is that he was awakened by the sound of breaking windows and the next thing he knew the building was set on fire. He escaped unharmed from the incident."
The ANC said a case of arson was being opened with the police in Vereeniging.
"The burning of our offices is tantamount to an attack on the people of Sedibeng and it is an act of cowardice by people who want to use violence and threats to undermine the work of the ANC in the Region," said the ANC.
Eyewitness News (EWN) reports that the police's Kay Makhubele says that no arrests have yet been made.
"A case of arson has been registered. So far no one has been injured but our investigation is continuing. The cause of the fire will be revealed later."
This region has been grappling with leadership battles since the disbandment of the regional executive committee of Sedibeng last year.
EWN reports that there was also anger over the appointment of the new mayor, Gift Moerane. Party members claim that he’s no longer an active member of the ANC.
African News Agency (ANA)