rebel LEKOTA gets marching orders

DIVORCE GRANTED: Mosiuoa Lekota's membership was suspended by the ANC yesterday. © Unknown.
DIVORCE GRANTED: Mosiuoa Lekota's membership was suspended by the ANC yesterday. © Unknown.

Eric Naki and Sapa

Eric Naki and Sapa

The marriage between former ANC national chairman Mosiuoa Lekota and the ruling party has ended.

The ANC has suspended the membership of its former chairman Lekota, the party's national working committee said yesterday.

It also kicked out Mluleki George, who served as Lekota's deputy during his tenure as defence minister.

A party statement issued last night read: "The ANC national working committee has decided to summarily suspend the membership of Mosiuoa Lekota and Mluleki George with immediate effect."

The committee said this was in line with Rule 25.12 of the ANC constitution, which authorises the NWC to summarily suspend the membership of any member, pending the institution and conclusion of disciplinary proceedings against the member.

"The NWC has agreed to convene a special meeting of the ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) this Wednesday where the matter will receive further attention," the statement read.

"The ANC will take similar action against any other members who have indicated in words or action their intention to establish a party in opposition to the ANC."

The NWC said it would recommend to the NEC that provincial structures be directed to take disciplinary action against such individuals.

"The NWC believes that this action will address any confusion that may have been created by people speaking for the ANC at meetings not arranged or sanctioned by the ANC," the statement added.

The ANC's decision follows Lekota's announcement last week that he was "serving divorce papers" on the party.

Yesterday, Lekota met ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa, ostensibly to try and salvage the rocky marriage - but to no avail. Both parties could not "find each other".

Lekota described the meeting as "an unconvincing, and unproductive exercise".

"I am disappointed with the party's attitude," he said.

Lekota met with Phosa to discuss his criticism of the party's leadership, amid speculation that he may soon start a breakaway party alongside former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa.

Lekota criticised the ANC leaders in a letter to general secretary Gwede Mantashe two weeks ago.

Developments in the country show that the move to form a breakaway party is gaining momentum.

l In Gauteng, Shilowa is set to announce that he will join the splinter group led by Lekota.

An ANC provincial executive member described the move by Shilowa as "political suicide".

l In the Free State disgruntled ANC members yesterday announced that a provincial convention would be held to test support for the national convention.

l In Limpopo, 47 branches out of 92 in the Vhembe region have reportedly come out in support of the breakaway initiative.