Woman stabbed at EFF rally

2016-06-15 06:00
A victim of political intolerance, Phumelele Khanye, a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was stabbed in the face with a piece of a broken bottle last Friday at the party’s election campaign rally held at the Intabazo Stadium in Harrismith.     Photo supplied

A victim of political intolerance, Phumelele Khanye, a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was stabbed in the face with a piece of a broken bottle last Friday at the party’s election campaign rally held at the Intabazo Stadium in Harrismith. Photo supplied

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A MALE suspect, Motlalepule Motaung (25), appeared in the Harrismith Magistrate’s Court on Monday (13/06), facing a charge of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm. This is after he allegedly attacked a woman, Phumelele Khanye (60), a member of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). He was released on bail of R500.

The attack on the woman apparently took place during the EFF’s election campaign rally at the Intabazwe Stadium where EFF president Julius Malema was the keynote speaker. The rally was attended by more than 4 000 people.

Sgt Mmako Mophiring, police spokesperson, said Motaung had been arrested on Saturday (11/06), the day after the assault had taken place.

Motaung allegedly stabbed the victim Khanye in the face with a piece of a broken beer bottle. According to the victim, the attacker and five other males, allegedly ANC Youth League members, had barricaded the stadium entrance with burning tyres.

They had allegedly threatened to burn down the EFF’s tents which had been erected for the meeting, and had then allegedly also intimidated community members who attended the rally. A heated altercation between EFF and ANC factions then ensued, eyewitnesses told Express.

An eyewitness said the group, who was baying for blood, threatened to tear Malema apart and verbally insulted EFF members.

EFF Free State chairperson, Khotso Morapela, said they would lay a formal complaint with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) regarding alleged violent tactics by the ANC to intimidate EFF members from campaigning, in breach of the electoral code of conduct. Last Friday (10/06) 22 parties contesting the municipal election in the Free State, pledged to abide by the electoral code, signing it at a ceremony in Bloemfontein.

Tensions between members of the ANC and the EFF have reportedly increased in the region ahead of the upcoming local government election on 3 August. The floor-crossing of one-time trusted ANC members to the EFF has also fuelled tensions and has raised fear among ANC members that they might lose their grip on the Harrismith and Qwaqwa region.

ANC Free State spokesperson Thabo Meeko, who attended the signing of the IEC’s code of conduct, said the party would investigate the allegations of intimidation made by the EFF. He said the ANC volunteers were trained on how they should conduct themselves when campaigning.

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