‘Attack a sign of deep ANC divisions’
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Cape Town - The attack on ANC provincial chairman Marius Fransman in Oudtshoorn this week was a clear sign that the party continued to be plagued by factional discord, political analysts have said.
Keith Gottschalk, emeritus senior lecturer in politics at the University of the Western Cape, said attacks like that on Fransman on Tuesday night were common where there was a contest over a senior post.
He said attacks of this nature were seldom about disagreements on policy issues. “It is almost always about rivals competing for paid jobs,” Gottschalk said.
Independent political analyst Daniel Silke said the attack proved that deep divisions persisted in the ANC in the Western Cape.
“When Marius Fransman took control of the ANC in the Western Cape, he said he would unite the movement. It has taken him longer than he thought it would to iron things out,” Silke said.
“He is feeling the heat and has to create stability. But Fransman is the only one to blame for this.”
Silke said the attack would not have a negative effect on the party’s election campaign before next year’s polls. “It doesn’t have serious implications for 2014,” he said. “Fransman needs to start a clean-up quickly. There is still time, but he shouldn’t wait too long.”
Fransman, who is also Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, was rescued by his bodyguards from an attack by a mob in Oudtshoorn on Tuesday night following a meeting to replace the town’s mayor, Gordon April.
April, who faces charges of theft, intimidation and using municipal resources for personal use, was informed that he was to be demoted pending the outcome of the court case and that a new mayor would be appointed.
As Fransman and a number of ANC provincial executive committee members were leaving the municipal building, they were approached by the angry crowd.
A tussle broke out and Fransman, who is believed to have been injured, was rescued by his bodyguards.
Stun grenades were thrown by police and at least four people - including a journalist who said he and others had been assaulted by police - were arrested.
ANC provincial secretary Songezo Mjongile said should any ANC members be found to have been behind the attack, they would “face the full might of our disciplinary processes”.
He said the ANC executive would hold an urgent meeting on Friday to discuss the matter.
Xolani Sotashe, ANC metro region chairman, said: “This is a direct assault on the ANC itself and we will never accept this kind of behaviour.
“We condemn those who resort to violence and intimidation to achieve political objectives as enemies of the ANC.
“These barbaric acts can never be… acceptable to the ANC.”