Black Monday Protest: Certainly, the much-anticipated “Black Monday” National Shutdown might not be strife-free, considering the way the matter is being handled.
While opposition groups continue to intensify the campaign against President Jacob Zuma, the president’s allies continue to swell in number.
Earlier today, the ANC Youth League vowed to deal with protesters on Friday. The same statement was also reiterated by the ANC Women’s League on Tuesday.
Now, it has emerged that the ruling party will be deploying at least 600 combat-ready” military veterans to Johannesburg from KwaZulu-Natal to defend President Jacob Zuma during the march.
This development was announced by the Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association in KZN on Wednesday.
At a press conference in Durban‚ the association’s KZN chair Themba Mavundla said the duty of the veterans will be to defend the ANC, president Zuma and the Luthuli House against protesters.
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Mavundla warned organizers of the Black Monday protest not to undermine the ANC, adding that his men are ready to position themselves at the protesters’ rear and flanks.
The defiant veteran, popularly known as Zuma man, said he is not speaking as a public servant but as commander of the MKMVA.
“I took an oath when I joined the MK. I put that [head of department position] on the side when I’m wearing this cap. I’m a commander of the MKMVA and it is my duty to defend the organization. I will put on a tie when I’m doing the work of a public servant‚” Mavundla boasted.
When asked if the organization has weapons‚ Mavundla refused to respond‚ but he indicated that the former military wing of the ANC was armed.
He said: “We are not karatekas. We know how to defend the movement. We wish to warn these forces of darkness that our patience is not unlimited. Our people are ready to defend our hard-won gains.”
The calls for Zuma to resign were sparked by his cabinet reshuffle which saw among some ministers the former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas sacked. The pair were replaced by Malusi Gigaba and Sfiso Buthelezi respectively.
Anti-Zuma marchers are expected to meet on the Durban beachfront on Friday morning and proceed to the City Hall in the CBD.
However, they have not announced if their route will take them past the ANC office, which is opposite the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre during the Black Monday protest.