Chaos as Mngxitama is attacked at press conference

2015-02-12 14:53

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Economic Freedom Fighters MP Andile Mngxitama was stripped of his EFF T-shirt and had to be shielded by female party members from assault by members of a rival faction of the EFF.

He later told City Press that he was fine and his detractors did not manage to physically assault him. He said he was not sure whether he would be attending the state of the nation address later this evening.

Mngxitama was scheduled to address a press conference at a hotel in the Cape Town CBD at noon today. Before he arrived about 50 EFF members who support party leader Julius Malema packed the hotel room he had hired for the press conference.

When Mngxitama arrived at 12.24pm, he was in the company of two EFF MPs, Khanyisile Litchfield-Tshabalala and Lucky Twala, who are believed to be among those who support him.

One of Mngxitama’s supporters, who was the MC for the press conference, began by asking all party members to leave the room because the event was only meant for journalists. They refused.

Chairperson of the EFF in the Western Cape, Bernard Joseph – who is also a member of Parliament – sprang up to address the gathering from his seat as Mngxitama was approaching the podium.

Joseph said they were present to stop the press conference from going ahead because Mngxitama, an ordinary member of the EFF, had no mandate to convene a press conference.

“We are here to stop this press conference. It won’t happen. You don’t have a mandate to hold a press conference,” said Joseph.

Joseph, who is a former member of the Congress of the People (Cope), said he was concerned because Cope’s disintegration started with politicians “doing exactly what you are doing”.

He said they were there to defend the “true EFF”.

Mngxitama’s supporters started chanting: “Sit down Bernard!” and Malema’s supporters responded by singing pro-Malema songs. As it became clear that the press conference could not continue Mngxitama and Litchfield-Tshabalala, who were seated at the front, rose and as they were leaving the room a group of about 15 to 20 people moved towards them and sought to assault and strip Mngxitama of the EFF T-shirt he was wearing. EFF-lede baklei paar uur voor #SONA2015

A number of women, including those who were singing pro-Malema songs, created a human shield around a half-naked Mngxitama as male members continued to confront him.

The drama lasted for about five to 10 minutes before they all left the hotel venue.

It did not stop there. EFF members chased after Mngxitama, causing traffic chaos in Strand Street as Mngxitama, who was by now wearing a black jacket, fled to a waiting vehicle.

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