Mandela snub for DA

2019-01-14 15:52
Launching the DA’s KZN election team opposite the Mandela Capture Site on Sunday are (from left) DA One Team KZN spokesperson Hlanganani Gumbi, with head of crime Dianne Kohler-Barnard, head of borders and security Haniff Hoosen and the DA KZN Premier candidate Zwakele Mncwango.

Launching the DA’s KZN election team opposite the Mandela Capture Site on Sunday are (from left) DA One Team KZN spokesperson Hlanganani Gumbi, with head of crime Dianne Kohler-Barnard, head of borders and security Haniff Hoosen and the DA KZN Premier candidate Zwakele Mncwango. (Chelsea Pieterse)

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As the rivalry between the ANC and DA intensifies ahead of the polls, security spies have been dragged into the fray, with police using what appears to be a questionable intelligence report to bar the DA from holding a press conference at the Mandela Capture Site in Howick.

The DA, which unveiled the party’s KZN elections team outside the capture site on Sunday, had intended to hold the event on the site itself, before police warned the DA provincial leadership of an intelligence report that there could be violence if the party proceeded.

Read: Spat over Madiba site

According to the police the ANC was mobilising people to disrupt the DA event.

DA provincial leader Zwakele Mncwango, who claimed that the party had booked the venue in November, said police had notified him on Saturday evening about the security threats.

“The Nelson Mandela Capture Site Museum subsequently informed us that it is rescinding its decision to allow us to hold the press conference on the site,” he said.

Asked what led the museum to rescind its decision, the Capture Site museum curator, Chris Till, said while it was true that the museum had given the DA the go-ahead, it was the ANC-led uMngeni Municipality that had the ultimate authority on the matter.

“We assumed that they had sought permission from the council so we were happy for the event to go on but then someone informed us just before the event that it had not been approved by the municipality,” he said

Till said the DA and the museum had then reached a compromise for the event to be moved.

The Witness has since established that the security threats were relayed to the DA by Howick police station commissione, Lieutenant-Colonel Sandra Mncube.

When approached for comment Mncube declined to talk about the matter, referring all media queries on the issue to the provincial police office.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said she was still awaiting a report from Mncube on the matter.

The decision to bar the DA came after ANC leaders had accused official opposition of attempting to “steal” ANC symbols and distort history around the Mandela legacy.

“You are thieves … when you appropriate President Mandela who fought against what DA represents today, you must be ashamed,” ANC acting national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said on Twitter.

Earlier, ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli had said the DA’s decision to hold a press briefing at the Mandela Capture Site was indicative of a party suffering from an “identity crisis”.

ANC Moses Mabhida Regional Task Team (RTT) convener Thulani Xulu denied that the party had put pressure on the police or the uMngeni Municipality to prevent the DA from holding its press conference at the site.

“We are currently busy with our elections campaign and as such don’t have time to interfere with the programme of other political parties.

“What we have been told though is that the DA had failed to follow proper procedures when applying for the permission to hold their event,” Xulu said.

Mncwango was nevertheless adamant that the ANC leadership had a hand in the decision to boot the DA off the site. “They still think they hold Mandela’s values,” he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg
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