Mathale smacks Zuma

2011-12-17 20:19

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale has fired the first salvo against President Jacob Zuma’s leadership ahead of next year’s ANC national conference.

At the start of yesterday’s Limpopo elective conference in Polokwane, Mathale rubbished decisions associated with Zuma, including the suspension of ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, Cabinet’s decision to place five provincial departments under administration and South Africa’s foreign policy direction.

At the same time, Polokwane police arrested a number of people for allegedly duplicating fake voting tags at a printing shop in the city.

When a City Press photographer and SABC cameramen rushed to the scene, they were assaulted.

Police spokesperson Hangwani Mulaudzi said he had heard about the incident but was still trying to verify facts.

A Limpopo freelance journalist has now opened a case of assault and malicious damage to property against ANC members linked to Premier Cassel Mathale’s camp for allegedly beating him up and damaging his camera late yesterday.

This came after Chester Makana and his colleagues, including an SABC TV crew, rushed to the Xerox offices in Polokwane upon receiving a tip-off that a group of ANC Youth League activists, led by Malema supporter Clifford Mohloana, was duplicating accreditation cards to allow bogus members to vote at the conference.

After realising the media was outside Xerox, Mohloana and his fellow comrades allegedly closed the doors and curtains before emerging out to attack Makana.

Makana said: “While we were taking pictures of the building, Clifford came out and said we were disrespectful. He grabbed a brick and hit me with it, took a camera and removed the memory stick.

 I opened a case of assault and malicious damage to property.”

Another reporter said he did not lay charges because only Makana was assaulted.

The journalists claimed they later saw some accreditation cards that had already been printed.

“The pictures on the accreditation cards did not match with those on the cards. You wonder who were they printing those cards for,” said one reporter.

Mohloana, who works as PA to ANC Youth League Limpopo secretary Jacob Lebogo, could not be reached for comment.

Limpopo police spokesperson confirmed that criminal charges had been laid against Mohloana.

“The police are searching for the suspect who has been identified and we expect to make an arrest soon,” Mulaudzi said.

In a no-holds-barred political report to the more than 1?000 delegates attending the conference at the University of Limpopo, Mathale said if the youth league committed “grave mistakes, corrective measures must be employed to show them the way, but not measures draconian”.

Mathale also said the league had often determined the “outcomes of political meetings in the organisation” and this role should not be “eroded or frustrated”.

Some delegates were planning to push through a resolution calling for Malema’s suspension to be reversed. Malema sat in the front row on stage, next to senior provincial and national ANC leaders.

Hundreds of people supporting Mathale, who is up for re-election as ANC provincial chairperson, danced and sang songs mocking Zuma.

Those backing his challenger, Deputy Arts and Culture Minister Joe Phaahla, made the hand gesture used in soccer matches for a substitution.

Despite fears he may be jeered, Zuma is expected to close the conference on Tuesday.

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