South African ANC rebel to form breakaway party

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The Independent Online

South Africa's former defence minister has announced a breakaway party will be launched, splitting the ruling ANC and challenging its years of dominance.

"We are going to go and set up a party," Mosiuoa Lekota said in remarks broadcast on South Africa's SAfm radio. It would be set up at a national congress he has called for November 2, he said.

The move, which was widely expected, is likely to raise tensions in the biggest political shake-up in the 96-year history of the ANC which has ruled since the end of apartheid in 1994.

It will also raise questions about the political direction of Africa's biggest economy.

SAfm said Lekota made the announcement while addressing supporters at the Vista branch of the University of the Free State. The party will adopt its constitution at the convention, said the radio station.

Lekota, who was suspended from the ANC for threatening to form a new party, has made a wide appeal to South Africans to attend the national congress to discuss what he says are major flaws in the ANC leadership and plan future strategy.

"At the convention people must decide what they want to do with themselves. There has to be debate, what will you call it (the party)," said Lekota.

"Obviously there will be lots of names and so on. We say to the people 'you go back to your constituency and see which names, which colours, which emblems."