IFP, anc IN COURT drama

Mhlaba Memela

Heavily armed police were deployed outside the Camperdown magistrate's court yesterday to monitor the situation between groups of angry IFP and ANC supporters.

The two parties' members were picketing a stone's throw from the court, where six family members linked to the killing of an ANC member at Swayimani in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands appeared for a bail application.

The accused included IFP Swayimani branch chairperson Mkhonto Gumede, 41, his father Zwelempi Gumede, 71, his brother Mphathi Gumede, 29, and his cousins Phiwe Gumede, 23, Qiniso Gumede, 19, and Mzamiseni Gumede, 20.

The case was postponed to May 22.

The Gumedes are accused of killing ANC member Zimisele Hlongwane, 20, and wounding seven others.

The ANC supporters were ambushed by a group of armed men while they were celebrating the party's election victory by driving in a motorcade in Swayimani.

During yesterday's court proceedings IFP supporters dressed in party colours and carrying sticks sang and toyi-toyied outside the police station across the road from the court.

IFP branch secretary Muziwemali Thusi said they came to court to support the accused, who he said were members of his party.

Thusi told IFP supporters that "we don't know that ANC members were shot" by IFP members.

"All we know is that ANC members were shot by criminals and we are astonished that our members were arrested while the police were still investigating," he said.

Thusi said their presence outside the court was to offer support to their members.

"We want to see justice done because our members are being abused by the police," Thusi said.

"The police say they are still investigating, but our members are in jail.

"All we need in this case is justice ."

Police monitored the situation until the end of proceedings inside and outside the court and no incidents were reported.