ANC members pelted with stones
Johannesburg - ANC representatives visiting Bekkersdal, west of Johannesburg, were protected by their VIP security because they were pelted with stones, an official said on Friday.
"At some point, a particular crowd got aggressive and started closing in on the public representatives [on Thursday]," African National Congress Gauteng caucus spokesperson Mbangwa Xaba told Sapa.
"This should be condemned... Public representatives were barred from doing their work and still did a walkabout but were pelted with stones."
The party's Gauteng representatives were in Bekkersdal on Thursday for door-to-door campaigning.
Thabang Wesi, leader of the Concerned Residents of Bekkersdal, told Sapa residents saw ANC bodyguards with weapons in the township.
Wesi alleged that they shot at unarmed people, mainly school pupils.
"Residents then managed to retaliate. The situation was very tense," he said at the time.
"If people want to vote, let them go vote but [they] must vote out the ruling party. We can see the ANC is arrogant and use force to coerce us into voting for them."
The Star on Friday reported that ANC bodyguards fired live ammunition at residents after schooling was disrupted at around 11:00.
Three police nyalas and heavily armed police patrolled the area and fired rubber bullets at residents and school pupils, it reported.
Xaba said the ANC did not have bodyguards but VIP protection, which was provided by the SA Police Service.
"We commend the police for ensuring no loss of life and no injuries. Under extreme provocation there was no loss of life and for that we are very grateful," he said.
Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said he could not comment on the VIP protection unit's actions as it did not fall under his jurisdiction.
"We can't comment on their actions, they fall under the national office, they don't fall under provincial. We can only comment on our members."
But Dlamini confirmed that rubber bullets were fired by police because their vehicles were stoned. Six people were arrested for public violence.
Dlamini referred other enquiries to national police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo, who said he would get feedback before commenting.
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