Monday, June 29, 2009

ANC Celebrates Freedom Charter

JOHANNESBURG 26 June 2009 Sapa


Luthuli House, the home of the African National Congress in
central Johannesburg, was upbeat with festivities on Friday as the
party celebrated the 54th anniversary of the Freedom Charter.

However, these festivities excluded President Jacob Zuma, who
quietly, accompanied by his daughter, Duduzile, exited the building
shortly before people gathered in the 11th floor boardroom of
Luthuli House.

People at the reception of the ANC offices, who had come to
attend the party were suddenly ordered aside by security shortly
after entering the building.

They were unaware of what was happening until Zuma and his
entourage alighted from a lift and the President greeted them with
a friendly grin as he walked past them headed for the exit on Sauer

It was only after Zuma had walked out of the building that most
of the people broke into excited whispering among themselves that
they had seen the President.

The event was to have been attended by ANC chairman Baleka
Mbete, who was also billed to cut the four piece cake decorated in
the party's colours, but she too did not attend.

Instead the 13 guests of honour, political veterans who
witnessed the launch of the Freedom Charter, were accompanied by
ANC deputy secretary general Thandi Modise.

The only other surprise guest was former National Intelligence
Agency boss Billy Masetlha, who along with Modise openly admitted
that they were not there when the Freedom Charter was launched.

On opening proceedings earlier, programme director Mdumiseni
Ntuli instructed journalists not to ask questions and keep them to
themselves because it was not an event to do so.

It was not long after Ntuli's utterances that disgruntled
Johannesburg emergency workers arrived with sounds of vuvuzelas

The sounds of vuvuzelas and struggle songs went on throughout
Modise's address as she told guests that the occasion was to
commemorate struggle icons who fought for the Freedom Charter.

The workers, who were in a small group, briefly protested
outside Luthuli House holding placards that read "Zuma recall [City
mayor] Masondo", under the watchful eye of metro police offices.

The workers' placards also threatened that if their boss, Dr
Audrey Gule, did not resign, they would remove her themselves.

Meanwhile, inside Luthuli House, one of the veterans, Muzi
Moola, told guests that the Freedom Charter was launched 54 years
ago after a 32-year-old campaign to get all races in South Africa
to speak in one voice.

"It was a campaign many took part in and the Freedom Charter was
a culmination of those 32 years of campaigning.

"It was on June 26 that the Freedom Charter declared that South
Africa belonged to all, and the people shall govern," he said.

Modise sealed the festivities by partnering with Moola to cut
one of the four pieces of the cake and the guests of honour put
their elderly frailties aside to enjoy slices of cake and

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