The organisers of Monday’s #OccupyLuthuliHouse protest said they were “baffled that barbed wires are used to create barriers between a people’s organisation that leads society and people with every intention to peacefully demonstrate and deposit their concerns”.
The movement said it was toning down its action as its “supporters and comrades…have been threatened by violence through state machinery used to discourage our cause”.
Rather than a mass protest‚ spokesperson Sasabona Manganye told TMG Digital that its members had been asked “not to come in their numbers” and the protest’s leadership would hand over a memorandum at the African National Congress’ (ANC) offices in Johannesburg.
South African Polices Service officers‚ metro cops‚ private security and uniformed Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association cadres set up a watchful perimeter ahead of the #OccupyLuthuliHouse on Monday morning.
#OccupyLuthuliHouse organisers issued a statement on Monday saying that the threats it had received are “evidence of the degree of intolerance that has crippled our organisation”.
“The prevailing culture of intolerance in our ranks is rather unfortunate and sadly depicts anyone with dissenting views as an enemy or agent provocateurs‚” the statement said.
“We must reiterate that these tactics and degree of paranoia is no different from those sanctioned by the apartheid regime which our glorious organisation vehemently fought against.”
They also said it was “with utter dismay that we witness…(that) at no point has the leadership condemned all violent threats by supposed ‘defenders’ of Luthuli House”.
“The ANC has evidently disregarded that this will be a peaceful protests. The security contingency measures provided by the state are abnormally extreme and affirm that are perceived as enemies.
“We unfortunately can’t predict what might transpire today but we are not naïve to the degree of violent threats which our supporters as well as organisers of #OccupyLuthuliHouse have received.
“It would be unfortunate to see people being hurt in pursuit of a legitimate cause. South Africans can’t be casualties of the current tragic state of the ANC.
“…Given the potential severity of violent threats‚ we want to appeal to the multitudes of people who confirmed that they will join us this morning not to come. We are aware that self-proclaimed defenders of Luthuli house have the aid of state machinery to cause disruptions. We fail to understand why there would be such antagonism to a cause legitimised by South Africans.”