Seshego: Some shun Ramaphosa

2013-11-10 14:00

City Press reported in a story headlined Seshego shuns Ramaphosa (published on 10 November 2013) that ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa had received a cold welcome on the streets of Mr Julius Malema’s neighbourhood. The ANC then lodged a complaint with the press ombudsman, saying that the story was unfair and that the headline was misleading and created the false impression that the entire Seshego community was hostile towards the deputy president.

Due to printing deadlines at the time, we could not cover all the engagements that Ramaphosa was to attend in Seshego on that day.

The story reflected that part of his visit which we attended and was based on an eye-witness account from our reporter. Another media report at the time stated that one of the residents who had been particularly hostile to Ramaphosa (our story also reflected this incident) “appeared to be under the influence of alcohol”.

We did not intend to mislead the public by implying that the whole of Seshego had “shunned” Ramaphosa. We apologise if our story was understood in this way. We accept that he was warmly welcomed in the other parts of Seshego.

ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday received a cold welcome on the streets of Julius Malema’s Limpopo neighbourhood.

Ramaphosa was jeered and one man refused to shake his hand as he walked the streets of Seshego as part of the ANC’s “voter-mobilisation programme”.

Ramaphosa started his day in Polokwane and Westenberg – but the trouble started when he and a team of ANC supporters arrived in Seshego.

Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, had been in the neighbourhood just hours earlier to check that his name was on the voters’ roll in Seshego’s Zone 1.

Ramaphosa arrived at the local polling station at 5.30pm, but found it had closed for the day. So he set off on a door-to-door walkabout. But it went off badly from the start.

As he walked along the street near the Seshego Police Station, Ramaphosa extended his hand to greet a man standing on the pavement. But the man refused to shake Ramaphosa’s hand.

The ANC deputy president asked: “Don’t you people greet?” The man’s response? A simple “no”.

Undeterred, Ramaphosa and his supporters set off down the road. But things went from bad to worse at the first house they visited.

He was turned away by the home owner before he had even got through the gate.

“Go away, go away. You are not welcome here. This is my home. People are dying because of the ANC.”

As Ramaphosa and his entourage walked away, the man began shouting, “I’m a fighter, I’m a fighter”. The exchange happened about 300m from the home of Malema’s grandmother.

Among those trying to whip up support for Ramaphosa was Malema’s former friend and comrade, Boy Mamabolo, who walked ahead of the group knocking on doors.

The group found very few people at home.

ANC spokesperson Moloto Mothapo downplayed the incidents, saying there were “handfuls” of EFF supporters along the road, but most Seshego residents wanted Ramaphosa in their homes.

In a statement sent out before the visit, the ANC said Ramaphosa would be “targeting particularly young people around Polokwane, encouraging them to step up and be counted as part of those who will shape our country’s future by registering and voting for the ANC”.

Malema seems to have fierce support in his home town – and his new party, the EFF, has promised to paint Polokwane red when he appears in court next week.

Malema’s trial on charges of fraud and money laundering will start in the Polokwane Magistrates’ Court next Monday. The last time he was in court in June, the EFF had not been born yet.

Malema’s supporters plan to spend the night at Cosmo Leisure Lodge outside the city on the night before the trial.

George Raphela, the EFF’s Limpopo convener, said all their attempts to secure accommodation in the city had failed.

“We also decided to secure a spot where we could erect a marquee in the city, but the Polokwane municipality declined our request. It has become an EFF struggle that we don’t get venues,” he said.

Raphela said that after a vigil at the lodge on Sunday night, about 3 000 EFF supporters were expected at the court.

“We’ll leave Cosmo Leisure in a motorcade driving to the court. Monday will be big, and we’re hoping to maintain our presence and also hope to get permission to picket outside the court in support of [Malema].”

Raphela said that EFF supporters from all over the country were expected to flock to Polokwane to support Malema at his trial.

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