By: Sello Theletsane
JOHANNESBURG- Black Land First (BLF) movement has condemned what it called a planned attack on its deputy president Zanele Lwana by ANC Ward 68 supporters of president Cyril Ramaphosa.
In a statement, the movement said it had come across evidence that an official ANC WhatsApp group, for Ward 68 in the City of Johannesburg, had planned an attack on Lwana at her home on the night of Tuesday (21 July). The attack, which was discussed by the ANC branch in the WhatsApp group, is said to be in retaliation to the BLF’s recent campaign which saw the movement’s leadership allocate unused graves dug at the Honingnestkrans cemetery, north of Tshwane, to government leaders including Ramaphosa.
The movement invited community members to a “prayer and cleansing” ceremony at the cemetery last Saturday. BLF president Andile Mngxitama said the #CloseTheGraves campaign was launched to demand that government stop digging mass graves and save lives instead. The movement demanded the immediate closing of the graves and the building of hospitals to help Covid-19 patients.
“BLF is aware that part of this animosity towards our movement is because a by-election is due in Ward 68 and our movement has endorsed the Patriotic Alliance in the ward. BLF is therefore calling on the leadership of the ANC to call its members to order before the situation gets out of hand,” said BLF in a statement in response to the alleged planned attack on its second-in-command.
The movement said it would be opening criminal cases against “these ANC hooligans”. We have also mandated our leaders in Ward 68 to defend all BLF members and to engage the ANC in dialogue. BLF wants to make it clear that the #CloseTheGraves campaign will not be stopped by any acts of intimidation and violence by the ANC.”
“Every day black people are brutalized by unapologetic racists in this country, where are these battle-ready ANC members to defend our people when they need them? BLF views such planned acts of violence against its national leadership by the ANC members in a very serious light and vows to get to the bottom of these reactionary plans.”
BLF further called on “the ANC government of Ramaphosa to close all the Covid19 graves without any further delay and to shift focus towards saving lives rather than preparing for death.” Africa News 24-7 has seen some of the messages leaked by a member who is part of the WhatsApp group. In one message, a member says referring to Lwana: “We no longer have the radical militant vibrant youth. She needs to be visited. When can we visit her commander?”
Some members of the group took their conversation to Facebook where one threatened to deal with Lwana “woman to woman”. Another responded saying: “She passes by my place when she gets back from…..”
Africa News 24-7 understands that the WhatsApp group boats a few prominent leaders of the ANC including a member of parliament (MP) deployed to Ward 68 and an ANC PR councillor. A group member who leaked the conversation and spoke on condition of anonymity said he was disappointed by the silence of prominent ANC leaders who are part of the group who failed to call “fellow ANC members to order on their planned criminal act”.
“Julius Malema on a daily basis insults Cyril Ramaphosa, who he recently branded a bastard. No one planned anything against Julius who, by the way also called Ramaphosa a woman basher. Where was all this anger,” asked the member.
He described his fellow ANC Ward 68 members as “opportunistic cowards who see a woman as a soft target”.