Bottles, cans thrown at opposition at Youth Day event

2015-06-17 18:34


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Durban – Two opposition parties have complained that their speakers were pelted with bottles, cans and fruit at a Youth Day event in Pietermaritzburg.

The IFP had complained to speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, Lydia Johnson, party spokesperson Blessed Gwala said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Members of the ANC, in the presence of their leaders, which included Premier Senzo Mchunu and members of his executive, showed utter disrespect towards members of opposition parties,” Gwala said, of the incident at the Dales Park sports ground in Pietermaritzburg on Tuesday.

“This was a government event that was funded by public funds. The behaviour of ANC members flies in the face of the sacrifices made by all the young people over the years for the democracy that we enjoy today. It is obvious that the ANC does not like to hear of its shortcomings.”

DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango said a member of the party had to be taken to hospital after she was struck on the head by a beverage can.

'Nothing short of disgusting'

He said Johnson had given assurances that security would be beefed up at other events.

“Yesterday’s behaviour of ANC members is nothing short of disgusting. Even more disgusting was the silence of senior ANC leaders who did nothing to stop the violence meted out on opposition members.

"The premier should be ashamed of himself to allow young people who want to shape their future to be beaten just because they belong to an opposition party,” he said.

Legislature spokesperson Wesley Canham said the matter was discussed with Johnson.

"There wasn't a formal complaint, but all parties have condemned what happened," he said.

The incident would not jeopardise the holding of the Youth Parliament Pietermaritzburg over the next few days, Canham said.

The ANC's provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said: "The ANC has noted the bad behaviour. It is unfortunate that there is such bad behaviour."

He said that the youth needed to realise that that those who protested in 1976 against apartheid were not an ill-disciplined mob, but were focused on achieving change.

He said that the ANC condemned the incident in the strongest terms, but said that a proper investigation was needed to determine who had been behind the incident, rather than jumping to "premature conclusions". 

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  ifp  |  pietermaritzburg  |  youth day

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