Johannesburg - The gun-toting man wearing an ANC bib, seen during last week’s violent confrontation between Gauteng ANC bigwigs and protesting Bekkersdal residents, has been criticised by the community and the party.
A community leader in the troubled township, situated west of Joburg, described Nelson Mdayi as a man who placed the organisation’s interests first rather than those of residents.
Mdayi, who previously served as a local councillor under former president Thabo Mbeki’s government, is an official at the Westonaria local municipality, in the speaker’s office.
“He aimed to secure (the interests) of the organisation (over those of) the community. He fought against those who criticised issues of poor service delivery in the township,” said the community leader.
“We were happy when his term as councillor was over. To an extent, we thought the next councillor would do better, but it’s all the same,” he added.
The source said last Thursday was the first time that they had seen Mdayi carrying a firearm in public.
“We have never seen him displaying the gun in public before. Only his friends do it,” the source said.
Resident Mbulelo Koyana said: “I thought he was a nice guy. But we were shocked when we saw pictures of him (in newspapers) carrying a gun.”
On Monday afternoon, Mdayi told The Star that he was in a meeting and would only be available to comment on Tuesday.
“I’m in a meeting, please call me tomorrow. Please respect my meeting. You can’t force me to comment. Let the media lie then,” he said.
On Thursday, tension boiled over as Gauteng MECs Ntombi Mekgwe and Eric Xayiya, ANC chief whip in the legislature Brian Hlongwa and West Rand district municipality mayor Mpho Nawa arrived in the troubled township to conduct a door-to-door campaign ahead of the elections in May.
Chaos broke out when the VIPs’ protectors fired shots at residents, who were pelting the entourage with stones.
Rubber bullets were also fired by members of the police’s Tactical Response Team.
Mdayi was captured on camera facing the residents, holding a gun behind him.
In a statement, the ruling party said it would institute disciplinary action against Mdayi “for bringing the organisation into disrepute by carrying a firearm while on the campaign trail. His conduct has been referred to the provincial integrity committee, whose report will be released to the leadership as soon as possible.
“The ANC would like the (police) to investigate the legality of his gun,” the party went on to say.
Meanwhile, the DA in the province also called for action against Mdayi.
“Not only is it reckless and dangerous to carry a firearm during a public political event, it is also in contravention of section 9 of the electoral code of conduct. The code explicitly states that no person may carry or display arms or weapons in any public political event.
“The code applies to all political parties, candidates, office-bearers, representatives, members and supporters,” said John Moodey, the DA’s Gauteng leader.