Khoza quits lecture after two factions face off
Confrontation between supporters, opponents
EMBATTLED ANC MP Makhosi Khoza was yesterday forced to withdraw from delivering a lecture in memory of Oliver Tambo in Durban after her adversaries, President Jacob Zuma’s supporters, allegedly threatened her.
Khoza had been invited to deliver the lecture by the Young Communist League of South Africa in Inanda’s Ward 57, north of Durban.
She was going to speak at Tambo Plaza Hall, which is near the home of ANC’s eThekwini regional chairperson and eThekwini Municipality mayor Zandile Gumede.
The situation became very tense when Khoza’s supporters and pro-Zuma ANC supporters had a confrontation.
Both factions had armed themselves with bush knives, firearms, sticks and stones and looked ready to pounce on each other, but police arrived to separate them.
An SACP activist, Nontokozo Nsele, sustained a head injury from a stone apparently thrown from the crowd, whose members were mostly wearing ANC T-shirts.
Nsele said she and other SACP members were walking to the hall when they were confronted by ANC supporters.
“Without provocation they swore at us and attacked us with stones,” said Nsele.
YCL secretary in the area Nduduzo Chamane described Ward 57 as being “the twin sister of Ward four in Ntshanga” when it came to tensions between ANC and SACP supporters. Ntshanga, in the west of Durban, was once notorious for political murders due to tensions within the alliance.
Khoza is currently in trouble with the ANC nationally and in KwaZulu-Natal for calling for a secret ballot in the motion of no-confidence in Zuma.
She will be appearing before the ANC KZN disciplinary committee on September 10. Attempts to get her to comment on the Inanda incident failed as her phone remained off yesterday.
Chamane said Zuma’s supporters had started on Monday to mobilise to prevent Khoza from coming to the ward.
“They treat the SACP as their worst opposition in the ward as Makhosi Khoza is treated as the main opposition to the ANC nationally,” said Chamane.
He said SACP members in Inanda had invited Khoza to tell her that they shared her views about Zuma.
“Comrade Makhosi is one of us because of her views, even though she is not a card-carrying member of the SACP. She is saying the South African society is saying ‘enough is enough’ and she is prepared to vote with her conscience, which is what we support,” said Chamane.
YCLSA deputy national secretary Isaac Luthuli said after yesterday morning’s incident Khoza decided to withdraw from the lecture.
“She is no longer coming because of these people (pointing at Zuma supporters). We tried to persuade her to come despite the threats, but we understood when she declined because her safety is very important,” said Luthuli.
Zuma supporters declined to comment and instead referred questions to ANC provincial spokesman Mdumiseni Ntuli.
Ntuli distanced the ANC leadership from people who had gathered to intimidate Khoza. He said he was not even aware of the lecture. He said it could not be concluded that those who had caused the disruption were Zuma supporters because the “SACP also wear ANC T-shirts with Zuma’s head”.
“It does not mean that the SACP is homogeneous. I am also a member of the SACP and I wear ANC T-shirts. If we want to be narrow we should assume that those people belonged to the ANC. Those people might be SACP members who do not agree with Makhosi’s views,” he said.
However, Ntuli called for tolerance and said Khoza “like any other comrade” should be allowed to deliver lectures if she had been invited by “any member of the alliance”.
“Preventing her from speaking at an event while those who are doing so are wearing ANC regalia is uncalled for,” he said.
According to the organisers of the event, Khoza was supposed to speak about her views on Zuma. Ntuli said for her to do so would be wrong as “she has a responsibility to respect a decision to charge her with misconduct”.
“She must make sure that she does not make her conditions aggravated. I would want to believe that she is mature enough to understand the implications of doing or saying something that compromises her before the case,” said Ntuli.
Delivering the lecture as a replacement for Khoza, Luthuli said the “corrupt” behaviour of Zuma and his cronies had a worse effect than that of drug addicts who steal pots from their families to “indulge in whoonga and later return home to expect supper”.
“This is not worse than what Zuma is doing to the ANC and the alliance. OR (Tambo) was not a president of factionalism as opposed to the current president,” said Luthuli.
Zuma is like a drug addict stealing family pots for his whoonga