THE ANC has launched a campaign to oppose abaThembu King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo's bid to secede from South Africa and create an independent state for his people.
ANC Eastern Cape spokesperson Mlibo Qoboshiyana told Sowetan that the ruling party was actively campaigning against the proposed breakaway.
Qoboshiyana said the ruling party was calling on abaThembu and the broader society to distance themselves from the "divisive and misleading so-called secession from South Africa idea".
"We have informed our regions, especially the OR Tambo (Umthatha) and King Sabatha Dalindyebo regions not to attend any public gatherings called to discuss this issue.
"Members of the ANC are also members of the abaThembu nation and we cannot expect the ANC, which fought against racialism and tribalism, to now support a bid to divide the nation along tribal lines."
The party's head office in Luthuli House said it was opposed to yet another attempt to form a 10th province in South Africa.
"We remain strongly opposed to this misleading and ambitious idea of King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo's so-called Justice Forum led by Votani Majola, which seeks to secede from South Africa.
"The call for the secession of abaThembu territory from the greater South Africa is reminiscent of past failed attempts by certain groups to create 'a 10th province' to accommodate misplaced fears for the new country that today enjoys one identity as a nation with diverse cultures," the party said.
It dismissed Dalindyebo's claim that he commanded millions of subjects in six provinces across the country, describing the proposal championed by Majola as an "attempt by a very small clique in Eastern Cape to manipulate the vulnerable and ignorant in our society by disguising a high court challenge to King Dalindyebo as a campaign to secede from South Africa".
Dalindyebo had suggested President Jacob Zuma should apologise to him for the public humiliation he suffered when an Umthatha high court ruling jailed him for 15 years.
The king also demanded R1billion in compensation from the government.
"South Africa is a constitutional democracy with respect for the rule of law. The trial of the king last December had to take its course," The ANC said.
It said Zuma and senior ANC leaders had met Dalindyebo and sought to address his concerns ahead of the 2009 elections.
But the party said it could not find any "political, economic or social reason to justify the call for a breakaway from South Africa".