EFF lays assault charges against ANC councillor, counter-charges laid

2013-12-28 12:59

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Mpumalanga’s Nkomazi area has accused the ANC of political intolerance after its members were allegedly assaulted last night while having a meeting.

The EFF alleges that in Nkomazi – a stronghold of the ANC’s Ehlanzeni regional secretary Ngrayi Ngwenya – there has been many disruptions of its gatherings.

The EFF has laid assault charges at the Tonga police station near Malalane against a Nkomazi municipal councillor, her husband and two sons for allegedly assaulting its members while having a meeting at a soccer field in Tonga yesterday afternoon.

The accused cannot be named until they appear in court.

EFF Nkomazi sub-region co-ordinator Caleb Sibitane told City Press that they had initially arranged to hold the meeting at Machawe Primary School but they were told at the last minute that the keys were not available.

“It has become common that when we book a venue we’re denied access. We then decided to meet at the open field, but before we finished, the councillor and his family members came, singing provocative songs,” Sibitane said.

“They came in our midst and told us EFF was not welcome in Tonga. I tried to reason with the two sons but the councillor and her husband began assaulting our member who lost his car keys and about R260 of membership fees,” he added.

Sibitane claims he and other EFF members were also assaulted and they went to the police station to lay charges.

“We’re about 40 there and outnumbered them but I told our members not to fight back,” he said.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala confirmed the incident and said assault charges were laid by both groups and 13 suspects were arrested.

“They were all released on warning this morning and they will appear in court on Monday,” Mohlala said.

The ANC’s provincial secretary, Lucky Ndinisa, was not available to comment.

EFF national central committee member Godrich Gardee said there was an orchestrated campaign against the EFF in Mpumalanga.

“There have been many incidents of assault and sabotage, particularly in Nkomazi. If our members are not assaulted, the ANC books our venues or the berets [members of the police’s tactical response unit] are set on us,” he said.

Gardee pointed out a Facebook post by the Tshwane University of Technology’s South African Students Congress (Sasco) Mpumalanga branch executive member, Mboniseni Yster Dladla, as an example of the campaign. Sasco is in alliance with the ANC.

Dladla posted yesterday: “War on those u insult Dr Jacob Zuma [sic] in the name of Economic Freedom Fighters, we must beat them to hell. There’s nothing political about insults! Enough is Enough!”

Dladla’s post came after the EFF’s commander-in-chief, Julius Malema, told his members in Nelspruit on December 21 that President Jacob Zuma had the mind of a rat as he tore into him about the Nkandla upgrades and his comments about Venda women.

Malema said: “The ANC was buried on December 15 (referring to former president Nelson Mandela’s funeral). No one can say he is representing Madiba. Zuma is the opposite of what Mandela stood for.”

Dladla was also not available to comment.

» On September 4, the Malalane Magistrates’ Court found Ngwenya and Bheki Mhlongo, the bodyguard of Nkomazi local municipality mayor Thulisile Khoza, guilty of assaulting the current EFF provincial head of organising and campaigns, Collen Sedibe, and was fined R1 000. Sedibe was an ANC member when the incident happened in April.

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