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The ANC has condemned claims that ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s campaign convoy hit a cyclist and failed to stop on Sunday.
The DA claimed the blue-light convoy was involved in a hit-and-run incident at Wedela township, Carletonville, in which cyclist Mongezi Mpongolo was allegedly seriously injured.
A DA constituency operations manager in Merafong, Brendon May, claimed he saw the incident unfold just after 11am on Sunday.
He said he had been driving behind the ANC motorcade when he noticed a group of about 18 cars - including Ramaphosa in a black Audi - come to an immediate halt.
He said one of the cars towards the front of the convoy had knocked over Mpongolo on the corner of Manjingolo Street and 4th Avenue.
Ramaphosa dismissed the allegations out of hand.
“No, that’s not true. He (cyclist) had an epileptic fit and knocked (himself) against the tree and fell, and our convoy stopped. And, as any other responsible citizen would do, we stopped to help him.”
May said he drove around to the front of the convoy and saw the cyclist lying on the ground.
“Three traffic officers got out of one of the cars and moved (the cyclist) to one side,” said May, “and the rest of the convoy just drove on.”
He added that one of the vehicles with traffic officers had stayed behind, but had not even called an ambulance by the time he had arrived to check on the cyclist.
“(The officer) didn’t want to tell us what had happened, which made us even more suspicious,” he said, adding that the cyclist had appeared to be disoriented and could barely remember what had happened.
“His shoes were off, he was holding his ankles. He had abrasions on his elbows, hands and head.”
Gauteng DA leader John Moodey said: “This is an unacceptable abuse of power and is symptomatic of the ANC leadership’s arrogance in dealing with people.”
ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu characterised the allegations as “irresponsible lies” by a party desperate to score cheap political points.
“The overzealousness of the DA to portray the ANC negatively has undermined the little that is left of its integrity.”
During the campaigning, Ramaphosa said the wave of protests that had engulfed the country were a result of “genuine concerns” over the slow pace in the delivery of services.
And rather than dismiss the protesters as “crazed people”, leaders should address their grievances.
“In most cases our people express a genuine concern, and it is important that we listen to them. We must not be dismissive and think they are mad or crazy,” Ramaphosa said.
He was speaking to The Star on the sidelines of his door-to-door campaign in Toekomsrus township, near Randfontein, on the West Rand.
Ramaphosa led the ANC’s electioneering drive on the last voter registration campaign in Gauteng on Sunday, and his crusade to woo voters saw him visiting three churches in the Merafong district municipality. He sought to assure residents that the ANC was not in danger of losing the elections, let alone in Gauteng.
“This small little brakkie puppies (opposition parties) are going to lose in the biggest way and the ANC is going to win in the biggest way.”
At times, Ramaphosa seemed to contradict this supreme confidence.
“There is still more work that needs to be done. We will only win this election if we work harder than our opponents.”