Pretoria - A group of about 16 women bared their buttocks and stormed into the offices of the ANC in Tshwane on Monday morning.
Workers who were on duty, security personnel and passers-by looked on in amazement as the women made their way into the building, minus some of their clothes.
Some had unzipped their jeans, lifted their tops and undone their bras before turning away to expose their naked backsides in full view of our cameraman.
A security guard at the entrance to the building said: “These women are really crazy.”
The women were protesting against the outcome of an ANC Tshwane branch general meeting held at Lebelo Primary School in Hammanskraal on Sunday.
The women claimed bouncers, armed with pangas and firearms, stormed the meeting and stopped them from participating in the voting process to elect the new branch committee. According to them, a committee was elected after they had been forced to leave the venue.
They told the Pretoria News they had been slapped on the bottoms and literally dragged out of the meeting.
The women claimed Tshwane MMC for transport and ANC regional deputy secretary, George Matjila, had ordered the bouncers to disrupt the meeting.
However Matjila rejected their claims, saying he was not even part of that meeting. “I am an ANC leader. I am not working with bouncers,” he said.
The women claimed the meeting register was tampered with, and false signatures of people who were at the meeting were added. They also claimed there were people elected to the committee who were not ANC members in good standing.
The branch meeting in Hammanskraal was overseen by Tshwane MMC for health and development, Eulanda Mabusela.
One of the women said she was manhandled in front of Mabusela. “I told her to stop the meeting because of the chaos, but she ignored what I said,” she said.
Matjila was sent by the ANC to oversee a branch meeting in Winterveld which also degenerated into chaos.
According to Matjila, the Winterveld meeting was disrupted by bouncers who arrived and stood at the back.
“They suddenly started chanting songs and disrupted the meeting,” he claimed.
There were allegations that he had a confrontation with someone who attended the meeting, but he denied this too.
After their dramatic protest, the women dressed and then held a meeting with the ANC regional secretary, Paul Mojapelo, at which they registered their gripes.
According to them, Mojapelo told them that he was aware of the issues raised and he had referred their complaints to the ANC provincial executive committee. He promised to respond by Thursday, they said.
Tshwane regional ANC spokesman Teboho Joala said he was not at the office when the women took off their clothes. “I will have to investigate the situation first before I can make a comment,” he said.
Regarding their complaints, he said there were very clear guidelines in the ANC that outlined processes that ought to be followed by those who were dissatisfied.
He said the ANC would investigate the circumstances under which the matter was reported to the media.
“We do not encourage discussion of the party’s internal processes in the media,” he said.
Another branch meeting in Bronkhorst-spruit was reportedly also marred by violence.
But Joala, who chaired that meeting, said no one there who claimed to have been assaulted approached him.
He said there was a point when the situation almost degenerated into an altercation, but it never reached that point. “There was no one who I saw attacking another person.”
Proof that politics of spectacle is with us
The era of vulgar politics is upon us and the politics of spectacle has taken hold. This is how political analyst, professor Somadoda Fikeni, summed up the behaviour of the protesters.
Fikeni said the behaviour among political party members was a reflection of a society experiencing “serious social challenges including the manner of engagement”.
“You would recall that during the election of Julius Malema as president of the ANC Youth League in 2008 (in Mangaung), some protesters there were bearing their buttocks,” said Fikeni, adding mechanisms of political engagement seemed to be eroding.
“Whether it’s because of desperation, it’s (the type of behaviour) which was there before. Things that used to shock no longer shock. The politics of spectacle is more of what we see,” he said.