Gauteng RET President Zuma support group condemns the factional political victimization of Andile Lungisa

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By: Sello Theletsane

JOHANNESBURG- The Gauteng RET President Zuma Support Group has expressed its deep concern on the targeting and victimization of Andile Lungisa because of the political beliefs he holds, and his unwavering and outspoken support for Radical Economic Transformation.

This comes after Lungisa was served with notice to begin his 3-yearr sentence.

“The Gauteng RET President Zuma Support Group has on numerous occasions warned against political factionalism that endeavors to cast support for Radical Economic Transformation (RET) as being part of a ‘grouping’ or ‘faction’ in the ANC, while in reality Radical Economic Transformation is the official economic policy programme of the ANC, and is reflected in the economic policy resolutions that were adopted at the 54th National Conference of the ANC at NASREC in 2017,” the movement said.

“Every truly committed member of the ANC is therefore obliged to support and promote Radical Economic Transformation (RET) as the core, mainstream, economic policy programme of the ANC. Anyone who tries to deviate from this official economic policy programme, or water it down, is in fact grossly ill-disciplined, factional, and act in contravention of the ANC Constitution that defines the National Conferences of the ANC as the highest decision making structures of the ANC. The Constitution of the ANC formally binds the elected officials of the ANC – with specific reference to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC – to fully implement all the Resolutions of National Conferences”.

The movement furthermore added that they have warned against tendencies of triumphalism by those who won the leadership contest at the 54th National Conference, and attempts to victimize and purge those in the ANC who have executed their democratic right to have supported candidates of their choice.

“It is of great concern that while lip service is paid to unity in the ANC, there is a concerted effort to target and victimize certain comrades, and even to try and drive them out of the ANC.”

“Such behaviour is extremely dangerous for the future position of the ANC as the leader of society, and is accompanied by tendencies that are entirely alien to the culture of the ANC which try to elevate certain individuals as standing above the the collective leadership of the ANC. This has lead to strange and hitherto unknown narratives to the ANC, that certain individual leaders are more important than the ANC as a revolutionary movement, and that they are responsible for the election victories of the ANC, rather than the ANC collective and members.”

“As a consequence the character and existence of the ANC is under threat, in as much as every single member of the ANC must always be considered to be the maost important assets and building blocks that build the ANC, and determine its character as a mass revolutionary Movement representative of our people,” said the movement.

According to the RET support group, this situation is made worse by the persistent and serious allegations that continue to surface that huge amounts of money were raised, and used, in order to buy votes at the 54th National Conference, and thus determined the outcome of the leadership elections.

“It must be emphasized that calls for these allegations to be thoroughly investigated, and the sealed bank accounts in question to be opened, are not factional or intended to undermine the leadership of the ANC. To the contrary, these are calls intended to clear the air, and to restore the integrity of the ANC and our leadership. It is certainly not in the interest of the current leadership of the ANC to continue to labour under a dark cloud of suspicion that the process that lead to their election was illegitimate, and in contravention of the ANC Constitution.”

“ We laud comrade Lungisa for the courage that he continues to display in being one of those committed ANC members who refused to be silenced on these critical issues. His call for a full, comprehensive, investigation into the allegations of vote buying at the 54th National Conference, joined the growing chorus of calls in this regard, and deserves the full support of every genuine and concerned ANC member.”

“It is our considered view that comrade Lungisa is being victimized for the principled political positions that he so fearlessly espouses. In this regard the harshness of the sentence that he received for the incident, where he defended himself during a fight in 2016 in the Council Chambers of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Council, is reason for serious concern. There were physical attacks and counter attacks, and comrade Lungisa himself was being attacked (as is recorded on the full video of the incident).”

Furthermore the movement said that there is a strong case to be made that comrade Lungisa was acting in self-defence, as he was surrounded by five men who were attacking him with their fists.

“The comment by the presiding officers when delivering the sentence in court, to the effect that comrade Lungisa is not an ordinary South African, means that they inadvertently entered the political realm, compromised their impartiality, and left themselves open to accusations of prejudice and partiality.

“While we laud comrade Lungisa’s discipline for having, throughout the ordeal that he is being subjected to, accepted the constitutional authority of our courts, we cannot avoid acknowledging that there is a history of bias and discrimination towards black people by the judicial system. Nor can we ignore the loaded political context – as referred to by the presiding officers themselves – in which comrade Lungisa’s trail, eventual conviction, and inordinately harsh sentence unfolded. This loaded political context is confirmed by the haste with which the ANC in the Eastern Cape decided to suspend comrade Lungisa’s ANC membership. This rushed decision is most likely to be in contravention of the ANC Constitution, and certainly should be subjected to an immediate and thorough review.”

“We acknowledge the discipline with which comrade Lungisa stepped aside as a Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, as well as his laudable efforts that resulted in reconciliation between himself and DA councillor Rano Kayser, with whom he had the altercation. It is our belief that this politically disciplined conduct by comrade Lungisa, as well as his noteworthy career and service to the ANC as a former Deputy President of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), former Chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and former President of the Pan-African Youth Union (PYU), should strongly weigh in his favor to find a solution that will not continue to victimize him, and safeguard his ability to apply his well-known commitment and skills to continue to serve our nation. The road to full liberation of the black, and especially the African, citizens of our country will still be long and arduous, and we cannot afford to loose comrades of the caliber of comrade Lungisa.

“ As the Gauteng RET President Zuma Support Group assures comrade Andile Lungisa of our principled political support. We stand firmly by him as he now files papers in the Constitutional Court, seeking for leave to appeal against his sentence.”

“We furthermore urge our beloved organization, the ANC, to immediately lift the suspension of comrade Lungisa’s ANC membership that was so rashly imposed on him by the ANC in the Eastern Cape. It is our considered opinion that this was an act of blatant political, factional, victimization that should not be tolerated. It cannot be allowed to prevail”, the movement added in conclusion.