Parties race their engines - Loud stand-off between EFF and ANC campaigners in PMB

2014-02-11 00:00

A STAND-OFF between the ANC and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), which was punctuated by supporters of both parties doing “doughnuts” in the road, a video camera and elderly women swearing, had to be diffused by police on Sunday.

There were fears that events at the Sobantu Mfenendala Hall during the voter registration weekend could have deteriorated into an ugly fight.

Opposing party members exchanged insults before police were called in to intervene.

Sobantu ANC ward councillor Thandi Matiwane said they were sitting under the tree checking that community members had registered and encouraging them to do so, when a convoy of EFF members arrived.

“They parked their cars near the entrance of the hall and began videoing the proceedings and took [camera] shots of us which our members viewed as inciting a fight,” she said.

Matiwane said one of the EFF members then started revving and spinning a motor­cycle so she called the police because she was worried this might lead to a fight.

Police arrived and an ANC member began spinning a BMW around before police asked him to stop.

“I then took a loud hailer and thanked the EFF because the little commotion led to the youth arriving in their numbers to register to vote because they were not coming until they saw the car spinning around,” said Matiwane.

She said there was no EFF branch in Sobantu so people also wanted to see the red berets as they had only seen them on television.

KZN EFF convener Reggie Ngcobo confirmed Matiwane’s version of what happened. “But we were not happy with the level of intolerance that still existed amongst the older Sobantu community members because some women were swearing at us,” he said.

He said police formed a human shield when it became chaotic.

“We were just on our programme visiting various voting districts and would not have stayed longer than 15 minutes if we had not been provoked,” he said.

Ngcobo said it was important for them to bring some form of entertainment for the youth to register to vote because they know what young people in this country want.

Last August, two members of the EFF were left in a serious condition after being beaten up in Dambuza, Pietermaritzburg, allegedly for wearing their red berets and EFF T-shirts.

Mncedisi Dladla and Bongani Gwamanda were allegedly attacked after attending an EFF gathering in Dambuza, an ANC stronghold.

Police did not respond to media queries about the incident yesterday.

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