‘It was a war zone’ – EFF leader on Mashaba meeting
The ANC members who were present at an Integrated Development Plan (IDP) summit in Midrand arrived with the sole purpose of disrupting the proceedings‚ an official of the Economic Freedom Fighters said on Wednesday.
The hall of the Midrand High School turned into a warzone with chairs‚ water bottles and papers being thrown around‚ said EFF Chief Whip Sepetlele Raseruthe.
“They attacked us because they wanted to disrupt the meeting. They wouldn’t even allow the meeting to start and they sang when the Speaker tried to address them‚” said Raseruthe.
“This was the third time that they have done this‚” he added.
An EFF member suffered a gash to his head and was taken to hospital‚ while the DA’s chairperson of Ward 112‚ Andrew Osmond‚ was hit with a brick on the back of his head‚ said Mayor Herman Mashaba.
He blamed Johannesburg Metro Police Department officers for not acting accordingly.
“I’m disappointed that the JMPD outside the venue is letting the disruptive residents through. The JMPD leadership will change soon‚” he posted on his official Twitter account.
But the JMPD claims that it intervened and tried to break up the clashes.
Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said at least three Johannesburg metro police officers were injured in the scuffle.
The officers were trying to pull apart members of two political parties when one was hit with a chair and injured in the face‚ Minnaar said.
Meanwhile‚ Linus Muller‚ the Chief of Staff to the City of Johannesburg Speaker‚ explained that the people who first sparked the disruptions were not dressed in any ANC regalia‚ but were identified by community members.
“The Speaker was explaining the processes and saying there will be a round of questions taken after the presentation but two community members raised points of order‚ saying they wanted to speak immediately‚” said Muller.
“The JMPD intervened and tried to remove the people from the room and that is when things escalated.”
When the disruptors were removed‚ the ANC councillors also left the proceedings.
“The meeting was able to continue after ANC councillors were removed but then they started pelting the building with stones‚” said Muller.
Minnaar said there was some damage to the school where the meeting was held.
No arrests were made.
Mashaba‚ however‚ indicated that he intended on laying criminal charges against the ANC members who disrupted the proceedings.
“The City of Joburg is left with no option but to lay criminal charges against ANC councillors who were leading this assault on our democracy and fuelling the violence‚” he said.