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Cape Town -  The scuffle at SABC Morning Live Elections debate in Hout Bay on Friday started because a group of EFF supporters "maliciously and violently attacked" their members, says the Land Party.

The Land Party said they had opened cases of assault at the police station in Hout Bay and have launched a complaint with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

"The attack started with the EFF seemingly targeting four women in particular, stating that having white women in the Land Party made them the enemy of the EFF," the party said.

A video clip from the scene shows EFF and Land Party supporters throwing chairs at each other. Two women are seen asking males in EFF regalia why they are assaulting women.

The public broadcaster was forced to call off the debate.

The Land Party said: The horrifying scene played out just before the Land Party was about to speak for the first time in the debate. A cloud of red surrounded the Land Party supporters in the front row and started pushing, shoving and hitting them. 

"Mandy Owens, Land Party national spokesperson, was hit in the face by an EFF supporter which sparked outrage from other members who tried to push the EFF group back. The EFF retaliated by picking up chairs and throwing them. 

"Again, the blows and chairs were aimed at the women of the Land Party. Fatima Saaif, Land Party National Fundraiser has sustained injuries from being hit with a chair and Nathi Prins, Land Party national administrator, received a slap in the face while trying to protect themselves and other party members. In defence a few Land Party members were holding up chairs to deflect the chairs being thrown at them.

“It happened so quickly and was clearly an attempt to attack the Land Party’s racially diverse female leadership," said Owens after the onslaught. 

Land Party Chief Leader Gcobani Ndzongana said that “we received a report that it was well orchestrated and this matter was planned even before it happened because they were trying to prevent us from selling our policies to the public.”

Earlier on Friday, the EFF blamed the disruptive scenes on Stratcom.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said the party condemned the incident and called "on all fighters to exercise restraint at all times, particularly during elections”. 

“It has become common practice that many parties and prominent individuals, as well as agents of Stratcom, want to provoke the EFF and its members.

“This is because of the obvious progress we are making as a party and the inevitable victory on May the 8th. Whatever happens, we must never fall into this trap, as it seeks precisely to derail us from our well-deserved victory,’ said Ndlozi.

Ndlozi said this was a time when the party had its focus on preparing for the 2019 general election.

“This is our election, it is our era and no amount of provocation must make us fall into the trap, particularly with insignificant political entities. We must rise above because victory is ours and it is certain,” said Ndlozi.

IOL