Komatipoort - Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) commander-in-chief
Julius Malema has blamed the African National Congress (ANC) and President
Jacob Zuma for an incident in which an EFF member was shot during a rally held
in Mpumalanga on Tuesday.
EFF marshal Senzo Thwala was shot and injured in the leg
when he tried to prevent a man he described as wearing an ANC T-shirt from
entering the KaMaqhekeza stadium in KaMaqhekeza (formerly Naas) outside
Komatipoort on Tuesday afternoon.
"[President Jacob] Zuma went to the IEC and signed a
pledge. He said publicly [that] the ANC will not intimidate everyone, but behind
this truck [there's] a person who was shot today by the ANC. I'm going to write
a letter to the IEC to tell them that the ANC does not want free and fair
"We are not scared of them, because we can also use
guns. But we cannot use guns to determine the victory of our people. We want
peaceful elections. We want a municipality that is elected by the people,"
said an angry Malema after the incident.
The South African Electoral Code of Conduct prohibits anyone
from unreasonably preventing any person access to voters.
Thwala alleged that his assailant, who had been escorting an
ANC councillor earlier in the day, had refused to be searched before entering
the stadium where Malema was due to address an election rally.
"They [ANC supporters] occupied the open ground not far
from the stadium, where our meeting was to be held, claiming that they would be
having a soccer tournament. We then moved our meeting to the stadium, and after
we had set up, we were surprised when the same person who had come earlier
tried to force his way into the stadium, claiming that they now wanted to play
soccer inside the stadium.
"I requested to search him, like everyone else, but he
pulled out a gun and started shooting at us. We ran in different directions,
and I think that's when I got shot. I continued running, but fell down a few
metres away," said Thwala.
No other injuries were reported on the day.
Tonga police spokesperson Mzwandile Nyambi said no arrests
had been made.
"Yes, I confirm that an attempted murder case has been
opened. No one has been arrested, and the police are still investigating,"
said Nyambi on Wednesday morning.
Fears of more violence
ANC provincial secretary Mandla Ndlovu said he would ask for
a report from ANC leaders in Nkomazi.
"I really don't know what happened, that is why I said
I want a full report," said Ndlovu.
Last week, the Nkomazi municipality issued a letter
preventing any kind of activity from taking place at all their stadia, in what
was believed to be a ploy to prevent Malema from accessing voters.
The municipality denied the allegations, but allowed a
soccer tournament to take place this past weekend in one of the stadia that had
been affected by the ban.
The rally was part of the EFF's ongoing election campaign
trail in Mpumalanga, and already there are fears of more violence after the ANC
announced it would be holding yet another "soccer tournament" at the
same venue where Malema will be canvassing for votes in Pienaar township, about
25km outside Mbombela city.
Earlier this month, the ANC in the Nkomazi area lost eight
serving and former councillors who defected to the EFF.
'Criminality and nothing else'
Mpumalanga Electoral Commission of South Africa provincial electoral officer, Steve Ngwenya, said
his office will only act once they have received an official complaint from the
“We have agreed that all parties should have access to
public facilities to an extent that we have asked the chairperson of the South
African Local Government Association (Salga) to sit in our provincial political
liaison committee, so that if there are any issues of access, he can deal with
"The unfortunate thing is that the EFF has not made use
of that opportunity. They haven’t written to us about these incidents. As far
as I know this issue has never been raised [with us],” said Ngwenya.
However, he acknowledged receiving a call from EFF
secretary-general, Godrich Gardee, and said he advised him to make a written
submission to the IEC, after which a meeting between the ANC and EFF will be
held and an investigation instituted.
Ngwenya dismissed the shooting as a common criminal act.
“The shooting is criminality and nothing else. Police really
need to deal with that, but the pattern of preventing other parties to use
public facilities, that is also not acceptable in terms of our Electoral Code,”