ANC meeting ends in chaos
Six recover in hospital after fight breaks out at Ward 18 elections
AMEETING intended to elect the leadership of a new ANC executive Ward 18 (Zingquthu and Ndlovukazi) branch committee and representatives to the provincial conference later this month in East London, resembled a battlefield on Sunday and landed six people in hospital.
Chaos ensued after a number of party members who wanted to be part of the elections were allegedly refused entry to the Bonkolo Dam Conference Centre.
During the fray, a vehicle belonging to Regional Executive Committee (REC) member Nombuyiselo Ndlebe’s husband, Mendile, was overturned. They were not in the car at the time.
Ndlebe said people were stabbed, stoned and assaulted, while some ANC members managed to flee in their vehicles. By Wednesday, all of them had been discharged from Frontier Hospital.
Ndlebe, who was allegedly also denied access to the meeting, said all those affected by the violence were from the Zingquthu branch as about 300 people were locked out of the meeting, with a further 300 inside the premises.
She claimed that branch leaders had not informed people who was meant to attend the meeting.
ANC regional secretary Lusanda Sizani, who did not attend the meeting, said the party was preparing for the upcoming provincial and national conference.
“The Chris Hani region had a programme to elect its leadership and the branch general meeting [BGM] to elect delegates. Ward 18 had previously conducted an AGM which was ruled null and void by the national executive appeal committee and was asked to do a re-run of a branch annual general meeting (BAGM) and a BGM on Sunday.
“This was due to Ward 18 party members’ complaints,” Sizani said,
adding the provincial executive committee did not attend the meeting at the dam.
“The verdict of the national executive committee states that when a branch which was run by the REC is nullified by the national executive committee, its rerun [sic] should be conducted by the provincial executive members. There are allegations that the meeting was run by REC members in spite of what happened.”
Speaking on behalf of the REC, Sizani condemned the fighting. “When members disagree it does not mean they are enemies. We appeal to members to debate and hold different views, but to do so with dignity in a way that does not undermine the party’s image.”
He said there had also been a “disturbing” claim that while the victims were taken to hospital, the meeting continued which, he said, illustrated their desperation for power.
“If the allegations are true, those who are politically disciplined members of the ANC who have a political consciousness with a sense of maturity and credentials that are not questionable were supposed to have adjourned the meeting.”
Instead, the leaders should have ensured people were taken to hospital and their families informed, he said.
An REC meeting would look into the issue and make arrangements to visit the branch and apologise to the affected families. The ANC would also investigate the matter as personal issues may also have been involved.
Komani police spokeswoman captain Namhla Mdleleni said the fight ended when police arrived on the scene. No arrests were made and no cases were opened.
ON ITS ROOF: This vehicle belonging to the husband of ANC regional executive committee member Nombuyiselo Ndlebe was overturned during a battle between party members at a Ward 18 branch meeting at the Bonkolo Dam Conference Centre on Sunday