Police outnumber ANC top brass’s supporters outside court

2011-08-02 00:00

THERE were few ANC members outside the Pietermaritzburg courts yesterday to support MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu and legislature speaker Peggy Nkonyeni.

A source who has been part of the city’s security detail said they were initially told by the party last week to expect 2 000 supporters, but at a briefing meeting on Sunday, they received an indication that there would be no more than 500. Initial plans to mobilise across the province were toned down after discussion on the briefness of the appearance.

The police still barricaded Otto Street, where the magistrate’s court is situated. Pedestrians could only enter on the Church Street side where they were searched before being allowed through. The parking area behind the Bessie Head library was cordoned off by the police for use by ANC supporters, but the space was not utilised. Several passers-by commented on the strong police presence in the city centre, with police far outnumbering the handful of ANC supporters hanging around. Inside the court it was a different story with a buzz of activity as senior ANC luminaries arrived in support of their colleagues.

Spotted in the melee of security guards and lawyers were cabinet members Nomusa Dube, Lydia Johnson, Meshack Radebe and Sibongiseni Dhlomo. There were several other ANC provincial executive committee members as well as Moses Mabhida regional secretary Supa Zuma, Cosatu heavyweights Zet Luzipho and S’dumo Dlamini, MPLs Happy Blose, Ravi Naidoo, Bheki Ntuli, Sam Mtetwa, Ntombela Nhlakanipho and a host of councillors including uMgungundlovu Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee and Mkhambatini Mayor Thobekile Maphumulo. KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize was not at court.

After the senior party leaders went into the courtroom where Mabuyakhulu and Nkonyeni were to appear, a number of ordinary ANC supporters from surrounding townships were allowed into the Magistrates Court building. They sat in the court benches outside the regional courts wearing Jacob Zuma T-shirts.

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