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The family of the man who died after he allegedly inhaled pepper spray at a rowdy meeting addressed by President Jacob Zuma is blaming the ANC for his death.
Alpheus Moseri, 68, died on Wednesday morning at Tsimanyana Hospital near Marble Hall, Limpopo.
On Tuesday night, Moseri collapsed in the bus he was travelling home from the Nelson Mandela memorial lecture in Thohoyandou.
His widow Rebecca, 64, told The Star from Toitskraal village in Moutse West that Moseri was excited on the day he left, as he was going to Thohoyandou for the first time.
“He promised to buy me avocados. The avocados have arrived, but sadly he did not,” she said from her bed.
Moseri’s younger brother Solomon said someone must account for the death of his brother.
“The people who organised that event should be held responsible for his death. The event should have been held at a larger place, especially if the president was coming to attend it,” said Solomon.
“His wife relied on him for survival. Who is now going to take care of her?”
Sekhukhune mayor and ANC regional chairman Mogobo Magabe visited the family on Thursday, along with MK members carrying the party’s centenary flame.
Moseri’s widow said she received a phone call at midnight on Tuesday from one of the comrades on the bus with her husband.
“He told me that he collapsed in the bus. He asked if he was either epileptic or asthmatic and I said no,” she said.
She said her husband had never had respiratory problems.
Those with him on the bus told her he had inhaled pepper spray in the hall, and many on the bus were coughing as a result of this.
The spray was discharged inside the packed Christ Worship House Church while security was trying to remove three ANC Youth League leaders, who opposed Zuma’s second term and supported axed ANCYL leader Julius Malema.
Indications are that the pepper spray was fired by the MK group.
Security at the event appeared to involve the police, MK veterans and the presidential security detail. The pepper spray was fired before Zuma and his security arrived.
ANCYL spokesman Klaas Mabunda said he saw the pepper spray being discharged by a man wearing civilian clothes.
Mabunda said whoever the man was, the police should take responsibility as they should have searched everyone before they entered the hall. A source close to the investigation told The Star the pepper spray was discharged by the MK group. The ANC denied responsibility.
ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said the cause of Moseri’s death could be speculated on only once the post-mortem results were available.
Limpopo police spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said police had not fired either pepper spray or tear gas.
At the time, members of the crowd coming out of the hall to escape the gas, flanked by police who brought them out, told The Star that they had been tear-gassed by the police.
No case has been opened yet.
Meanwhile, police say five men who were arrested at the event for singing derogatory songs about Zuma were released on warning without being charged.
The Star Africa