WATCH: ANC members’ intolerance goes viral

2017-03-15 10:54
The video shows a woman in full ANC regalia screaming and shouting in front of DA supporters as a confrontation breaks out.

The video shows a woman in full ANC regalia screaming and shouting in front of DA supporters as a confrontation breaks out. (Video screenshot)

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Chaos broke out at the IEC code of conduct signing ceremony in Woodlands on Monday night.

The event had to be abandoned without political parties signing the pledge that binds them to a free and fair by-election in Woodlands on March 29.

Both the DA and the IFP have blamed the ANC for the chaos, saying the ANC supporters did not want to give other candidates the opportunity to deliver their five-minute manifesto speeches after the ANC candidate had delivered hers.

A video of the incident has gone viral on social media.

The video shows a woman in full ANC regalia screaming and shouting in front of DA supporters as a confrontation breaks out.

ANC MP and former Msunduzi deputy mayor Mervyn Dirks is seen pushing DA provincial deputy leader Mergan Chetty, who seems to be trying to speak to DA supporters.

Dirks confirmed to The Witness he had pushed Chetty, saying he was trying to get him “out of the way to get to one boy in the DA rent-a-crowd”.

“I wanted to remove a poster that this DA person carried with the writing on it ‘Shurup baboons’.”

IEC regional supervisor Khulekani Mdadane said the ceremony had to be abandoned for safety reasons. He said there was even manhandling inside the hall.

Mdadane said they now face the dilemma of whether to go ahead with the by-election without the parties having signed the pledge.

“It is worrying because that will mean there will be nothing binding them.”

He said they might consider only calling the party liaison committees and candidates to sign the pledge.

DA Msunduzi caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola has opened a case of intimidation.

Chetty described the incident as “absolute embarrassment to the democracy that people paid for with their lives”.

Chetty said there was no poster with ‘Shurup baboons’ written on it. He said he had asked for the ANC to produce to evidence of this, and vowed that if this was made available, they would deal with the person concerned. However, no one had come forward with any information on this.

“Firstly the ANC [members] displayed their arrogance by not only occupying their half of the hall, but also the four rows in front of the DA’s section. Needless to say, we stood our ground, and they had to move. But it didn’t stop there.

“The DA respectfully listened while the ANC candidate presented her manifesto, without interruptions. Unfortunately, when it was the turn of the DA’s Shawn Adkins, he was continuously disturbed and 15 minutes later he still was not allowed to finish his five-minute manifesto due to the unruly behaviour of the ANC.”

Chetty said all opposition parties then decided to walk out, only to find ANC supporters singing and dancing outside the hall.

“How do you celebrate not signing a code of conduct for free and fair elections? Unless it is the ANC’s intention not to be held accountable by the IEC’s pledge.”

IFP regional leader Thinasonke Ntombela said the incident had left him wondering if the by-election will be free and fair.

“They could not even give our candidate a chance to deliver his five-minute manifesto speech. That is how far this intolerance has gone,” he said.

Attempts to get the comment from the ANC were unsuccessful.

Regional secretary Mzi Zuma did not answer his phone.

When The Witness contacted provincial spokesperson Mdumiseni Ntuli, he asked to be given time to investigate the matter.

When he was phoned later, he did not answer his phone.

Meanwhile, Chetty complained about Dirks’ comments on Facebook.

In one of the posts, Dirks wrote, “Please tell this one that those participating in DA fake blue Friday are not welcome. We do not need them, they must go serve their masters.”

Chetty said Dirks’ utterances were very similar to those of the apartheid era, when “we were told where we could or could not go”.

“In this new dispensation, there are no ‘no-go’ areas. Is this a threat by Mervin Dirks on this ‘boy’ and the DA supporters? Residents of Ward 32, we call upon you to defend the Constitution and punish corruption at the ballot box.”

Dirks said since the election campaign started Chetty had been inciting the community.

“He drives around the ward telling residents that we are thieves; that we stole the residents’ money and now we want to steal their ward. He has embarked on a serious smear campaign against the ANC, the president and myself. The DA is not telling the residents what they will do for ward 32 but instead has embarked on mud-slinging, name calling, insults and lies.”
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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