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Mbeki could have been shot - ACDP

2010-09-17 18:51

Pretoria - Thabo Mbeki could have been shot by a heckler who came within metres of the former president before throwing a banner at his feet, African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe said on Friday.

Meshoe was commenting on an incident on Thursday night when a student stormed into the Theunis Bester Hall at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) as Mbeki was giving a public lecture on war and peace in Africa.

The man, since identified as the treasurer of the TUT's Pretoria campus student representative council, was bundled out of the hall by security personnel.

According to the Pretoria News, he shouted: "We are going with Zuma."

"If this attacker had a gun he could have easily shot Mr Mbeki at close range. We find this breach of security totally unacceptable. This lack of action by the security personnel is both grossly negligent and dangerous," Meshoe said.

He said it was only after the man threw an ANC Youth League banner at Mbeki's feet that security personnel reacted.

"All security officials, including Mr Mbeki's bodyguards and members of the SAPS who were present should be charged with dereliction of duty."

TUT spokesperson Gilbert Mokwatedi said the institution condemned the incident and apologised to Mbeki.

"The university has already sent a formal letter of apology to the office of Mr Mbeki. The university reiterates its apologies to all those who were affected by last night’s incident," he said.

Pretoria campus chairperson of the SA Students' Council Kgodisho Mawishi condemned the incident.

"The behaviour of the student is a typical example of leaders who are parachuted into positions of leadership without proper grounding in mature politics.

"It shows lack of political schooling."

There were unconfirmed reports that police were looking for the man, who was released after he was bundled out of the hall, however comment from the police was not immediately available.

Presidential spokesperson Zizi Kodwa referred all comments on the security breach to the police.

Asked about the presidency's reaction to the incident as the man was a supporter of President Jacob Zuma, Kodwa replied: "You have a serious problem which I am unable to help you with. Firstly pres (sic) has no supporters, secondly we don't comment on security matters."