The Pan Africanist Movement (Pam) – a breakaway group from the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) – was launched in Bloemfontein on 16 November 2008 by its president, Thami ka Plaaitjie. It only won its right to register on 13 February 2009 following a lengthy battle. The PAC objected to the use of the name PAM because of the associations with its own tradition and heritage.
The SABC reported that the new party threatened to invade land and distribute it to Africans.
This was a statement posted on their website www.pam.org.za on why PAM broke away from the PAC:
“Circumstances have arisen which have compelled us to reconsider our membership of the PAC as it is currently constituted. We have sought over an extended period to work from within the PAC and re-animated it towards the real intention for which it was founded.
The PAC has since been embroiled in one strive after another. None of those had anything to do with the execution of the struggle. In all our internal strife our people have been left bewildered and at best disappointed.
We have steered away from the original mandate as espoused by Sobukwe. We were there at the inception of this Party. We founded it and have been saddened by the turn of events that have besought it. These range from floor crossing to the suspension of the Constitution of the PAC as well as to the ultimate suspension of the Constitution of the PAC as well as to the ultimate disbandment of the democratically elected National Executive Committee.
We have tried to use internal remedies to resolve our problems to no avail. We met with the current PAC leader to prevail upon him to no success. Various other structures of the PAC have engaged him and all their efforts drew a blank.
The financial straw has been massive exclusion of substantial membership of the PAC from attending the fort Hare University Conference which was held on the 4th – 6th July 2008. How can so many people hope to address their collective or individual concerns whilst their membership is questioned and cancelled on the whims of just one person?
How do you use internal remedies whilst your locus standi is questionable? Founder members were told blandly that they are no longer members of the organization they had served all their lives, an organization that they had suffered all their livelihood for and had even met death and danger face to face prepared to sacrifice their lives and limbs.
Matters come to a climax when the fort Hare Conference adopted a completely new constitution that was smuggled into the Conference to the utter dismay of honest PAC-loving delegates. This constitution was not canvassed with the membership of the PAC.
This new constitution made far-reaching changes to the PAC and its orientation as we have known it. It marked a great departure from both practice and tradition that has symbolized and defined ourselves as the Pan Africanists. Our youth and women’s structures were annulled; presidential powers were entrenched creating a sort of dictatorship.”