Police swoop on North West delegates again

2012-12-20 11:56

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Armed police stormed a house in Bloemfontein – where delegates to the ANC conference from North West are staying – for the second time in three days.

They cuffed the men and made them lie on the ground outside as they searched the house.

Yesterday it was described as politicking against the anti-Zuma faction.

The delegates say the armed officers stormed the house in Ceylon Street in Uitsig, Bloemfontein, late yesterday afternoon. They claimed to be looking for dangerous weapons. They say the 22 men in the group were handcuffed and then made to lie with their faces to the ground in the garden. The women had to stand against a wall.

“These were not regular police officers. They wore camouflage outfits and we could only see their eyes,” said one of the delegates, Forsy Moalusi.

Another delegate, Peter Bapedi, said the police had no form of identification.

According to the delegates, they could hear some of the police officers telling one another that they (the delegates) are dangerous and they want to get rid of President Jacob Zuma.

One of the police officers’ words were: “You say you want change. You want to get rid of Zuma. Well, here is change.”

It was the second time in three days for the delegates in this house to be investigated by police. Said an ANC member from North West’s executive committee: “The attacks are politicking.”

“One wonders why only the delegates from the North West have been targeted.”

He says the answer is obvious, and is because of their support for the faction that supported Kgalema Motlanthe.

Oupa Khoabane, the Free State ANC’s spokesperson, said the ANC cannot justify the victimisation of its members.

“The police cannot intimidate people in the name of the conference.”

Brigadier Billy Jones, the police’s head of communications in the Free State, said the police executed a warrant to search the house after receiving information that it contained illegal dangerous weapons.

No weapons were found and no one was arrested. Jones said the police are aware of allegations that people in the house were assaulted by police officers.

A charge of assault was laid at the Park Road Police Station. It will be investigated by the Independent Police Investigations Directorate.

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