The ANC on Wednesday denied that its members were to blame for a bloody showdown that broke out at a community meeting held in Midrand on Tuesday night.“We want to place it on record that no ANC member incited violence at the meeting‚” said Jolidee Matongo‚ ANC spokesperson in the Johannesburg region.
“It is the EFF and DA members clad in party regalia who started the disruption that ended up in violent attacks on members of the public‚” he added.
Several people were injured in the violent scenes which played out at the Midrand High School on Tuesday as chairs‚ water bottles and a brick were used as weapons‚ according to an eye witness from the EFF.
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.
But the ANC said they too were victims.
“Several people were injured‚ among them an ANC PR Councillor Comrade Matshidiso Mfikoe‚ who had to be taken to hospital‚” Matongo said.
Mashaba said the City of Johannesburg would lay criminal charges against ANC councillors‚ who he said “violently disrupted” the proceedings.
“Disgracefully‚ this attack on our democracy was led by ANC Councillors in the City of Joburg‚” Mashaba said.
The ANC was surprised by Mashaba’s move to pin the incident on them.
“It is deplorable for Mashaba to accuse ANC councillors of fuelling the violence‚ whereas they tried relentlessly to quell the violence‚” said Matongo.
“The ANC will take all steps necessary to defend its councillors‚ including in the courts ... We want to warn Mashaba to stop peddling lies about the ANC and its leaders‚” he added.
Earlier EFF Chief Whip Sepetlele Raseruthe accused the ANC of sparking the violence.
“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‚” Raseruthe said.
“This was the third time that they have done this‚” he added.
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. The meeting was able to continue after ANC councillors were removed but then they started pelting the building with stones‚” said Muller.
Chief Superintendant of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department‚ Wayne Minnaar‚ said three officers were injured as they tried to break the scuffle.
The United Democratic Movement accused the ANC of failing to accept its loss of the Johannesburg Metro.
“The ANC must take responsibility for their actions and explain to the voters in Johannesburg why they don’t want to accept the outcomes of the 2016 Municipal Elections‚” said UDM councillor in Johannesburg‚ Thandi Nontenja.
The Johannesburg Metro has been under the leadership of the Democratic Alliance since the last municipal elections.
“They lost the battle and their actions reek of sour grapes. These actions are disadvantaging the community who have now deprived of the opportunity to submit their wish lists‚” she said.