Cops open fire at ANC meeting

2011-02-14 00:00

A GROUP of angry ANC members rushed to The Witness offices in Pietermaritzburg carrying about 10 spent cartridges which they claim were fired at them yesterday afternoon.

They said the shooting was ordered by ANC Moses Mabhida regional secretary Super Zuma. They also accused Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo’s bodyguards of having contributed to the chaos, which left some people with minor injuries.

Two police officers were taken to hospital with minor injuries and a police vehicle was damaged.

“Dhlomo’s six bodyguards started the shooting before about 20 police officers … joined in the shooting. No one was hit by bullets, but people were injured as they were pushing each other to escape being shot at,” said Nani Mlaba, an ANC member.

The shooting happened at a hall in the KwaPata area of Edendale where Dhlomo had gone to conduct an ANC nomination meeting for Ward 10 for the upcoming local government election.

It is alleged that a group of ANC members were against the meeting being conducted before their grievances were addressed. This is the same group that toyi-toyied in front of ANC’s regional offices on Friday.

“We told Dhlomo about a task team, which ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala had promised will start dealing with our concerns as from tomorrow [today]. We said he should not continue with the meeting before the task team completes its duty, but he just went ahead instructing about 200 ANC members to enter the hall and start the meeting.

“People declined to go into the hall and remained outside, which is when Super Zuma instructed police to forcefully remove those who were preventing people from going into the hall,” said Msizi Ngcobo, who is up for nomination.

Among their grievances, Ngcobo’s followers want the current councillor Musawenkosi “Qashana” Mchunu to be excluded from the list of nomination candidate.

They also said about 1 000 of them cannot participate in the nomination because they have only recently obtained ANC membership cards.

“ANC policy says a new member has to wait for a period of eight weeks before participating in the activities of the ANC. We want to be excluded from this policy because it is not our fault that our memberships were delayed,” said Nkosi Dlamini.

Zuma denied issuing the shooting instruction.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said the MEC’s bodyguards opened fire as people were behaving in an unruly manner.

She said no one was arrested.

Meanwhile, The Witness heard reports that two ANC members were shot by police during the violence that broke out as a result of a nomination dispute in KwaXimba, outside Camperdown, yesterday.

However, police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge was unable to confirm the incident when approached late yesterday.

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