Eastern Cape ANC talks tough after violence breaks out at branch general meetings

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Tebogo Letsie, City Press
  • The ANC in the Eastern Cape has condemned incidents of violence that marred its branch general meetings over the weekend.
  • The party says its provincial leadership is expected to visit the wards where its members clashed. 
  • In Nelson Mandela Bay, ANC councillors are living in fear following the killing of a councillor and an attempt on the life of another.

The ANC in the Eastern Cape says it will suspend all members found to have been behind the violence that marred its branch general meetings over the weekend.

The meetings, meant to elect delegates in the run-up to the provincial conference in March, collapsed in some areas and police had to be called after violence broke out.  

The suspension warning from the party's provincial secretary, Lulama Ngcukayithobi, comes as ANC members threatened and assaulted each other in the Buffalo City metro and Chris Hani District. 

Public Order Police had to be called to East London's Parkside Hall on Sunday after shots were fired inside the packed venue during a scuffle between party members. 

Police spokesperson Sergeant Majola Nkohli said a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm had been opened for investigation following the altercation.

Violence also broke out in Buffalo City metro's ward 22 in Mdantsane's NU17 office on the same day, where former ANC Youth League co-ordinator Ondela Sokomani allegedly threatened party members with a pick handle.

READ ANC devastated by murder of Nelson Mandela Bay ward councillor in second shooting

When called by News24, Sokomani denied charging at an elderly woman with the pick handle, saying the allegation was part of a ploy to tarnish his reputation. 

Nkohli said Inyibiba police in Mdnatsane's NU15 were investigating a case of common assault in relation to the NU17 clash.  

Violent clashes also broke out in Komani, the Chris Hani District, where suspended ANC regional treasurer Madoda Papiyana allegedly pushed party members around, as well as in ward 33, Tarkastad. 

Nkohli said no cases were reported in relation to the two incidents in the Chris Hani District. 

Meanwhile, ANC members in Nelson Mandela Bay are living in fear following the killing of ward 20 councillor Zwelandile Booi while driving on Tshawuka Street in Kwazakhele on Sunday night. 

His murder comes a day after ward 42 ANC branch leader and SACP district deputy chairperson Mazwi Mini was shot and wounded in his home.

Mini, a former Nelson Mandela Bay councillor, was attacked on Saturday while sitting in the lounge of his house in Thoba Street, Kwanobuhle, Kariega.

According to local media reports, the incident happened days after he was told to stop supporting Oscar Mabuyane for a second term as premier.

Mabuyane is up against provincial treasurer Babalo Madikizela.

Both men stand accused of stealing R1.1 million meant for Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's funeral service. 

Ngcukayithobi said the road to the provincial conference had been encroached by criminals and condemned the incidents.  

"Where there are members of our organisation that are found to have participated in these activities, they would be suspended immediately." 

ALSO READ Eastern Cape ANC ward councillor nominee stabbed to death

Provincial officials would soon visit the affected areas to address the situation, he added.

Ngcukayithobi said the ANC had long called for police to act against criminality.

"Violence anywhere must be treated as criminal act and police must act. People would be killed and police Crime Intelligence must be able to nip the criminal acts in the bud, whilst we act on political matters."

The Eastern Cape police's Organised Crime Unit is investigating both cases in Nelson Mandela Bay. 

News24 understands the cause of the clashes at the meetings were over allegations that some groupings had introduced underhand tactics that made it impossible for election processes at the meetings to be free and fair.

Papiyana did not immediately respond to the allegations levelled against him. His response will be added once received.


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