The Black First Land First leadership is involved in a messy tug-of-war following a statement issued by the party’s secretary-general, Siphesihle Jele, challenging party leader Andile Mngxitama to provide proof of his membership before further participation in party activities.
An unhappy Jele released the statement on Monday lashing out at Mngxitama for allegedly accusing him of using the party’s database to form his union, and suspending him as a result.
“It has come to the attention of the Black First Land First (BLF) secretary-general, Siphesihle Jele, that a host of non-members of the organisation have falsely accused the SG of forming a union using the database of the organisation. These non-members must be reminded that the membership forms are with branch and regional secretaries. The office of the SG gets a database from the above-mentioned structures. These non-members don’t know this because they never joined the organisation they claim to lead.”
However, removing him would prove next to impossible until Mngxitama and Balashkrina proved that they were “legitimate” members of the BLF before calling a national imbizo.
“The letter serves to confirm to the general membership and the media that the following comrades, Andile Mngxitama and Shantha Balashkrina, are not legitimate members of BLF until such time they provide proof of membership and their respective branches.
“If these non-members are genuine about the call to remove the SG, they must call a national imbizo and contest the position in the open,” Jele said in a statement that has since been deleted from the party’s official Twitter account.
Speaking to The Citizen, Jele confirmed that the statement was real. He said he had been served with a letter of suspension following the accusations that he had used the party’s database to form a union. Instead of accepting his suspension, he is now challenging Mngxitama and Balashkrina to prove that they are indeed members of the BLF before participating further in party activities.
“Where are their membership forms? Which branches are they representing?” Jele asked.
Though the statement was initially published on the party’s official Twitter page, Jele said one of the other admins may have removed it for unknown reasons. This, however, did not erase the challenge for Mngxitama to prove whether he was a member of the party.
Mngxitama told The Citizen that the BLF Twitter account had been hacked, adding that the alleged hacker had changed the account’s passwords.
He further confirmed that Jele had been suspended from the party and was facing “numerous charges”.
“He asked for an extension to respond to the charges. That’s the process of the party. Can you ask a founder of an organisation if he is a member of the very same organisation he founded? I’m still a member and leader of this organisation and will remain so until 2020. The SG is new in the organisation, he doesn’t know. He was not there when the party was founded. Unfortunately, it reflects badly on the organisation. We have handed his case over to the central committee to deal with the matter,” said Mngxitama.
He further provided The Citizen with proof of his membership card