Police fire on IFP protesters

2009-09-01 00:00

FIVE members of the IFP Youth Brigade and a photographer from the Sunday Times were wounded when police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesting youth wing members in Durban yesterday.

Two groups, one from the Youth Brigade and another protesting to retain Mangosuthu Buthelezi as leader of the party, protested outside the IFP headquarters in Durban.

In the process of dispersing the protesters, two private cars and an SAPS vehicles were damaged when protesters tried to avoid being shot at.

“Police behaviour was unacceptable. They just fired rubber bullets without issuing a warning. The police told us that was the instruction,” said IFP chairman for the Durban Central Constituency, Mbokodo Mbatha.

He said they will lodge a formal complaint against the police.

Police spokesman Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said the police fired rubber bullets because the protest was illegal.

He said according to the Public Gathering Act, police are supposed to issue a warning either by using a loudhailer or by word of mouth to people gathering illegally.

The Youth Brigade members were also demanding the re-instatement of three youth brigade leaders, Irvin Barnes, Skumbuzo Khanyeza and Simpiwe Buthelezi.

The IFP recently expelled the youth brigade leaders after they led a protest calling for transformation in the IFP.

The youth were calling for the creation of a deputy president position in the IFP and for the treasurer-general to be elected, not appointed.

The other camp was against the call for transformation.

Mbatha said the youth are not happy that IFP leadership imposes decisions on members.

According to the memorandum that was supposed to be submitted to IFP leaders yesterday by the youth camp demanding transformation, IFP leaders put people in Parliament who were not chosen by members.

The youth also wants councillors who were not nominated by IFP members to be recalled.

Furthermore, mayors who have failed to deliver to the required standard must be recalled because they are ineffective, the youth added.

Mbatha said the youth are disgruntled that they are expelled from the party when they raise the issue of transformation. The senior leadership is said to have also decided to “kill the party”, the memorandum stated.

Police dispersed the crowd before the memorandum could be delivered to the IFP.

However, the leadership of the party, including one of the favourites to replace Buthelezi, the Reverend Musa Zondi, allegedly accepted the memorandum of the the group that supports the current leadership.

Mbatha said the Youth Brigade will continue to protest for transformation and that the next protest will be bigger.


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