Councillor denies arrest for ANC-SACP fight

2015-02-03 17:57

A Mpumalanga ANC councillor who has appeared in court in connection with a clash between ANC and SACP members has denied facing criminal charges.

“I was not arrested. As I’m talking to you now I’m here at my home,” said Bheki Zulu, 50, today.

“Those are lies. I have been receiving calls about [my arrest] today.”

Zulu, a member of the mayoral committee for local economic development in the Mbombela local municipality, was not asked to plead to malicious damage to property charges when he appeared in the Kanyamazane Magistrates’ Court yesterday afternoon.

Zulu was released on warning and the case was postponed to February 19 to allow police to investigate the case further.

Ten people were hospitalised after the clash on January 25.

However, Sergeant Gerald Sedibe confirmed Zulu’s arrest.

“I can confirm that Mr Zulu was released on warning by the Kanyamazane Magistrates’ Court on Monday,” said Sedibe.

Zulu was allegedly part of a group who violently disrupted a memorial lecture where former ANC treasurer general Mathews Phosa and SA Communist Party provincial secretary Bonakele Majuba were expected to speak in Kanyamazane last week.

Knobkerries were used, shots fired, and stones and chairs thrown in the Kanyamazane community hall, outside Mbombela.

People wearing ANC T-shirts had arrived early and started singing anti-Phosa songs. They entered the hall, decorated in SACP colours, and flipped tables and chairs over, chasing everyone out.

Phosa was scheduled to speak about the history of political assassinations in the province, which included the 2009 murder of ANC councillor Jimmy Mohlala.

Mohlala had been investigating tender corruption relating to the building of the R1.2 billion Mbombela Stadium ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Four people accused of murdering Mohlala were acquitted in January 2012 because of insufficient evidence.

Sedibe said police could not reveal whether more arrests were expected in connection with the violence.

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