Breakaway faction is ready to rumble with ANC for 2009 vote

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

A group of disgruntled ANC members has formed a splinter party that will challenge the ruling party in next year's general election.

The initiators of the party include former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and his former deputy Mluleki George, former Cosatu president Willie Madisha, former deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi, former SACP treasurer Phillip Dexter, former ANC head of communications Smuts Ngonyama and Sanco president Mlungisi Hlongwane.

Yesterday Lekota said he had "served divorce papers" on the ANC but stopped short of announcing the new party.

But he said with the situation prevailing within the ANC "it seems like we are logically moving in that direction".

When asked if he thought there was any alternative to forming a party outside the ANC, Lekota said: "I can't think of any alternative if this thing is not working."

Lekota said his grouping would organise a national convention where all South Africans in and out of the ANC would be invited to decide which route to take.

But insiders have confirmed that the party already exists and that it was coordinating structures in all the nine provinces.

"The conference Lekota is talking about is actually a launch where the party will adopt a constitution, announce structures and its name," one of the coordinators said.

He also confirmed that the movement to deal with the divisions in the ANC started before the Polokwane conference.

"Initially we thought we could work towards saving the ANC from the internal fissures," he said.

"But after January, when we realised that the situation was actually worsening, the issue of an alternative came to the fore."

Yesterday both George and Madisha aligned themselves with what Lekota had said. Madisha said people could not keep quiet when democracy was being undermined.

George said the decision to split from the ANC was difficult but had to be taken in the interest of democracy.