ANC chaos in Kokstad

2016-01-26 11:32
ANC members kick a Public Order Police officer at Horseshoe township in Kokstad.

ANC members kick a Public Order Police officer at Horseshoe township in Kokstad. (Khaya Magenu, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - Emergency services personnel were hastily dispatched to Horseshoe township in Kokstad to rescue ANC members who were injured when the party’s two factions waged war against each other on Sunday evening.

The area resembled a war zone as police used rubber bullets and teargas to disperse angry crowds.

One man was taken to hospital in a critical condition after he was stabbed eight times.

The riot came about after tensions boiled over between a group in favour of current Ward 1 councillor Phumzile Nocanda and another in favour of Athini Mtseki, who is also campaigning to be the ward councillor.

Nocanda’s group allegedly convened a secret meeting at the Oval grounds on Sunday afternoon where he was nominated as ward candidate, while the other group waited at the Horseshoe hall where the party was to convene and nominate candidates for the upcoming local government elections.

Stones started flying when each group heard of the other meeting being held. This was the second meeting in two weeks that failed to get off the ground following violence between the two groups.

People scattered in all directions as Kokstad SAPS, backed by Public Order Police from Port Shepstone, fired rubber bullets and tear gas.

The road leading to the township was blocked with rocks and police turned motorists back for their safety. “We are not scared to die for the truth. Nocanda won’t be a ward councillor again in our area,” said one protester, Sonwabile Nyembezi.

During the early hours of the same day, a petrol bomb was thrown at ANC Ward 9 candidate Mvuyisi Mgewu’s house.

“I awoke to the sound of what I thought was a gunshot. Then I heard a sound and I saw smoke all over my house. I jumped out the window,” said Mgewu. His neighbours extinguished the fire.

Kokstad police spokesperson Lieutenant Dumisani Ncongo said the windscreens on two police vans had been smashed and officers had been assaulted.

“We have also opened a case of arson as one house was petrol bombed, but no one was injured in the incident.”

He confirmed that police found four more petrol bombs behind the hall where the meeting was to have taken place.

Ncongo said they are monitoring the situation. He asked communities to remain calm.

Harry Gwala ANC regional secretary Sindi Msomi said they had received reports of “chaos” in Kokstad. “They must allow the ANC process to continue,” said Msomi.

Late yesterday police said the situation was still tense in Horseshoe. They said the community was threatening to bomb police vans and nyalas if they entered the area.

Read more on:    strike  |  protest

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