Pretoria - ANC member Abraham Mashishi did not intend to shoot anyone when he pulled out a gun during a demonstration in front of the regional party offices in Arcadia, Pretoria, on Monday afternoon.
The businessman and politician said he carries the gun all the time for personal protection.
Mashishi said he pulled the firearm out of the holster in self-defence and believes he would have been among the injured demonstrators in the pandemonium that ensued had he not acted swiftly.
“Police were firing rubber bullets. Bricks and stones were flying all over the place.
“During that time, a sjambok-wielding man ran past a police officer towards me while I was walking on the pavement trying to get away from the commotion. He was shouting that I was one of them (demonstrators).
“The gun was facing down and not in firing position.
“My finger was not on the trigger.
“Police were coming to me and so was the man with the sjambok. I had to defend myself.”
Mashishi said not all members of the group that came out of the ANC regional offices were from the party.
There were staff from the City of Tshwane and the office of the mayor that got out of the building and confronted the demonstrators.
Mashishi said most were hired private security guards, whose employer is known to the Pretoria News.
“When we arrived, they were wearing ANC-branded shirts, but they went inside the building and took them off. Some of them had guns.
“Members of the ANC have no sjamboks nor firearms. The leaders expect us to play by the rules, while they don’t.
“We were fighting a political war here, not a criminal one.”
Several people sustained injuries at the hands of the security guards.
He said after the crowd dispersed, they addressed the members and said they were sorry for what had happened, but were determined to keep on engaging until their demands were met.
Apson Makaung, singled out by member of the mayoral committee Terrence Mashego, in his capacity as ANC regional head of security, said he participated in the march as a member of the ANC.
Mashego had lambasted him, saying as a councillor and SACP leader, he should have been defending the ANC.
“Municipal and political issues mustn’t be confused. As an ANC member, I have joined the chorus for the current leadership to be replaced. ANC national must intervene.”
The disgruntled members are demanding that the entire leadership in the Tshwane region be dissolved and that all comrades whose names have been withdrawn from the “wisdom list” be reinstated.