BLF laughs off claims that Andile Mngxitama has been suspended
Black First Land First (BLF) has rejected claims that its leader Andile Mngxitama is not a legitimate member of the party and that he has been suspended.
"LOL. Can Ace suspend Cyril?" scoffed Mngxitama when contacted by our sister publication TimesLIVE on Monday to ask whether he had been suspended from the party he leads.
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He was referring to the ANC's secretary-general Ace Magashule and whether he could suspend ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa.
A statement issued in the name of the BLF's secretary-general, Siphesihle Jele, emerged on Monday morning, claiming that Mngxitama and another party member, Shantha Balashkrina, were not legitimate members until such time they were able to provide proof of their memberships and their respective branches.
Jele did not respond to several attempts to get his comment.
Mngxitama dismissed the claim and forwarded a screen grab of his membership card, which shows that his membership is valid until 2020 and that he is a member in "Ward 34 Joburg".
His deputy, Zanele Lwana, later issued another statement saying the party's Twitter account had been hacked and calling Jele's statement, which was published on the page earlier, "unauthorised".
In her statement, Lwana suggested that Jele was disgruntled as he was facing "numerous serious charges" by the movement and was supposed to respond to a disciplinary committee on the charges against him.
She also dismissed as a "silly allegation" Jele's claim that Mngxitama was not a member of the movement, adding that his membership was valid until next year.
"The central committee and national co-ordinating committee have full confidence in the president of BLF," said Lwana.
She said Mngxitama had appointed Jele just over a year ago after he was dismissed by First National Bank. The party also provided him with support.
"Steps are being taken to strengthen BLF after the general elections and some deadwood will naturally resist any rectification and cleaning-up process. BLF has full confidence in the integrity of the process set in motion," she said.
The BLF, which styles itself as a black consciousness party, secured a tiny 0.1% of the votes in last month's general elections and failed to win a single seat in parliament.