Durban – Former finance minister, Pravin Gordhan, has condemned what he said were attempts to intimidate him by violent people who engaged in fights and dumped human waste at the door to the hall where the meeting took place on Sunday in Stanger.
“I condemn this intimidation. This violent and intolerant conduct must be condemned by all democratic organisations. This kind of intolerance will only serve to alienate more of the public,” Gordhan told African News Agency (ANA) via text message on Monday.
The ANC MP was scheduled to speak at the Stanger Siva Sungum Hall at a private fundraising event hosted by the Concerned Citizens Group, but before his arrival, buckets of smelly human waste were dumped at the entrance to the hall, allegedly by ANC youth league members.
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While he was trying to speak, food was thrown around the hall and stones were thrown outside. Scuffles broke out between those who had come to listen to Gordhan speak and some of the protesters.
The youth league members said they were not targeting Gordhan in particular, but were protesting against the building of a shopping mall in the area because locals were not being given jobs on the project. But the official youth league leadership in the area strongly condemned the violence at the event.
“The constitution of South Africa has, as a fundamental right, the freedom of association and the freedom of speech. The members of the community who were present to express their support for the issues raised by the Concerned Citizens Group had every right to safety and a peaceful event,” said Gordhan.
“Clearly, it appears that some people related to the issue or the current political events unfolding in the country, had organized a group of young people to violently disrupt this event,” he said.
The incident was reminiscent of the intolerance experienced “in the 1980s in particular,” said Gordhan.
Also read: Poo protest a sign of intolerance, says Gordhan
“This kind of violence, physical attacks on people, the stealing of food prepared for the evening cannot be the conduct we either expect or condone - in the lead up to decisive meetings later in December,” he said.
Since being fired from his position as finance minister, Gordhan has been a speaker at numerous events across the country at which he lectures against corruption and state capture.
He had long been in the cross hairs of the ruling party’s youth league, which considered him a hindrance to radical economic transformation because of his financially conservative stance, which the league says favoured white owned corporations.
Gordhan recently called for deputy president and presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa to fire president Jacob Zuma and banish him to Nkandla should Ramaphosa win the ruling party’s elective conference in December.
The ANCYL nationally, and KwaZulu-Natal in particular, are staunch supporters of the president and have openly endorsed his wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to take the reins of the ruling party in December.
African News Agency