Ruling party members trade punches

2016-01-20 06:00

THE ANC in Pietermaritzburg is literally boxing it out for positions ahead of the upcoming elections, with members ­trading fists at a meeting on Sunday.

A charge of common assault was opened against Deputy Mayor Thobani Zuma, who counter-charged local ANC member Ndu Zuma after a brawl ­allegedly broke out at the Mpushini ­community hall in Sweetwaters on ­Sunday afternoon.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, Ndu accused the deputy mayor of ­punching him repeatedly in the ribs.

However, according to a police source, Zuma also opened a case at the ­Plessislaer police station, accusing Ndu of attacking him with a chair.

Contacted for comment, the deputy mayor neither accepted nor denied the allegations, referring The Witness to an ANC spokesperson.

It is believed the meeting was held to nominate potential candidates for the Ward 2 councillor’s post. However, an ­altercation allegedly ensued when ­dozens of ANC affiliates were excluded from the proceedings.

Ndu, who was one of the excluded members, said they were asked to leave because they were unhappy with the ­candidates the deputy mayor and other senior ANC delegates were “pushing”, and were therefore struck from the ­register of attendees and banned from participating in the meeting.

Not heeding the command, said Ndu, they remained seated, demanding to be addressed on their exclusion.

“[Zuma] then came straight at me and grabbed me on both arms, and before I knew it, he started punching me in the ribs,” Ndu alleged, adding, “People in the crowd rushed to separate us and his bouncers started assaulting other people until a massive fight broke out.”

However, according to a police source, Zuma said in his report that he was busy registering candidates when he noticed members who were not supposed to be at the meeting, and asked for them to leave.

He alleges he was attacked by Ndu and a few other unknown men who assaulted him with a chair and punched him ­repeatedly.

After the initial ruckus, the fight spread, with Zuma’s bodyguards and ­other ANC members allegedly becoming involved.

Police officers eventually entered the hall and calmed the heated battle.

Ndu said he immediately left to open a case at the Plessislaer police station.

“I have been an ANC member for 15 years, and this now feels like I am being disowned by my family.

“Our organisation [ANC] is slowly melting down,” he said, but added that he did not plan to leave the party “anytime soon”.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Mthokozisi Ngobese said that the deputy mayor was the complainant in the initial case opened after the brawl, and that a case was opened against him thereafter.

ANC KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala said he was unaware of the incident and referred The Witness to ANC regional secretary Mzi Zuma. The latter could not be reached before print ­deadline yesterday.

Recent elections of ANC office bearers in KZN have been rocked by infighting.

The ANC eThekwini branch, the ­largest ANC region in the country, had three attempts at elections last year, which were marred by disputes.

Our organisation [ANC] is slowly melting down

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