Several injured but only one case opened after chairs fly at ANC conference

By Zolile Menzelwa 

While several people were injured during the violent ANC provincial conference in East London at the weekend, only one case was opened with police.

Yesterday, those who had been injured were nursing their wounds while others were still in shock following a chaotic Sunday morning where delegates hit each other with chairs.

Amathole region delegate Phumza Kiva said: “I was hit with a chair above my right eye.

“My eye is swollen and blue.

“I don’t know why they would want to physically harm us.

“I had to be admitted at St Dominic’s Hospital.”

Kiva was discharged from hospital after a couple of hours.

Chris Hani region delegate Xoliswa Xelo was another victim, saying she was hit with a chair.

“After I fell, I got trampled during the chaos that ensued. But someone picked me up and that is how I was saved,” Xelo said.

She said she did not know who had hit her.

Other Amathole delegates – Noludwe Mgoqi and Thuliswa Camagu – were also injured in the fracas.

Mgoqi said she was hit by a chair on her leg. She now has a swollen leg and is walking painfully. She said she was admitted to hospital for a few hours before she was discharged.

Camagu was treated for injuries to her waist and arm in an ambulance at the conference venue.

“I was hit with an iron rod that was used to separate regions,” she recalled.

Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said two people were treated for minor injuries at Frere Hospital.

Some delegates said the problem started after disagreements on adopting credentials.

Kiva alleged the Oscar Mabuyane faction did not want to discuss credentials and wanted them adopted despite complaints from other branches that were not supposed to attend conference, but did.

Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala said only one case had been opened by safety and liaison MEC Weziwe Tikana.

Contacted yesterday, Tikana asked to be called after 30 minutes but could not be contacted again.

Former provincial chairman Phumulo Masualle and his former deputy Sakhumzi Somyo are believed to have also been injured on Saturday night.

They could not be reached for comment at the time of writing yesterday.

After the violence, hundreds of delegates walked out in what has been described by the newly elected provincial executive committee as a move to try and collapse the conference.

However, the conference went ahead and elected Mabuyane as the new chairman, Mlungisi Mvoko as his deputy, Lulama Ngcukaitobi as the provincial secretary and Helen Sauls-August was re-elected as the deputy provincial secretary for a third term, while Babalo Madikizela was trusted with the party’s provincial purse.

Ngcukaitobi said the new leadership took responsibility for the incident.

“We take responsibility for both the wrong and the right that happened. We want to follow up on the matter to ascertain what had happened.

“An incident of that nature should not happen again. We wish the injured members a speedy recovery.”


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