Another Mpumalanga ANC assault

2014-09-30 18:00

A Mpumalanga ANC member was allegedly assaulted when he was refused entrance at a regional elective conference at the weekend.

The incident happened at Nutting House Guest House outside Mbombela on Saturday where the ANC’s Ehlanzeni region held its conference.

Shadrack Magagula (29), a branch member from Luphisi near Mbombela, said his branch had lodged a dispute about irregularities with the regional executive committee (REC) and provincial secretary, Lucky Ndinisa, before the conference sat.

Towards the conference, many regions had lodged disputes complaining that REC members desperate to cling to power “stole” branches by excluding those with different views on who should be elected into REC positions.

The branches alleged that REC deployees sent to oversee branch general meetings forged attendance registers and imposed their favourite delegates for the conference, while names of ‘dissidents’ were expunged from branch databases.

Magagula said his branch’s dispute was about the fact that it had delegates to the conference yet there was no branch general meeting.

“The dispute was lodged with the region and the province. An REC deployee promised to solve this problem but did not. When we approached Ndinisa, he said we must come early before the start of the conference to present our complaints to the national executive committee (NEC) deployees,” Magagula said.

The NEC deployees to the conference were Dikeledi Magadzi, David Mahlobo (Minister of Safety and Security) and Siyabonga Cwele (Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services).

“But at the gate our two cars were refused entrance. When we were driving away, two cars followed us and one blocked our way. A firearm was pointed at me and I was forced to get out of the car. It was then that I was punched,” Magagula said.

Magagula alleged that among the people who assaulted him were Mbombela mayor Sibusiso Mathonsi’s bodyguard and two councillors.

The suspects cannot be named as they have not been formally charged and appeared in court.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Leonard Hlathi confirmed the incident.

“The matter is still under investigation and we’re making progress,” Hlathi said.

Provincial ANC secretary, Lucky Ndinisa, was not available to comment while provincial spokesperson, Sibusiso Themba, said he was not aware of the incident.

Preparations of the Bohlabela and Nkangala regional conferences were also marred by incidents of violence where branch members complained about REC members holding to power by hook or by crook.

Robert Ratheko of Ngwaritshana branch in Bohlabela (Bushbuckridge) was injured and had to be hospitalised after chairs were thrown at him during a meeting on July 12.

Branch members at ward 15 of Thembisile municipality in Nkangala region (Emalahleni) opened a case against culture, sport and recreation MEC Norah Mahlangu’s bodyguards after they allegedly fired four shots during a meeting on September 11.

Branch members said Mahlangu, a PEC deployee to the meeting, allegedly insulted members and left with an attendance register. Her bodyguards then allegedly fired shots to disperse members crowded near a gate of the venue.

The regional conferences give an idea of who is likely to be elected provincial ANC chairperson in 2016. Ehlanzeni, Bohlabela and Gert Sibande conferences have retained officials close to Premier David Mabuza.

Only Nkangala region is still to sit, but it is now clear that Mabuza has a greater chance to get a third term as ANC chairperson if he so wishes.

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