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Juju tells students: Attack, attack

Published Aug 27, 2015

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 Pretoria - “Fighters, attack, attack,” EFF leader Julius Malema urged his supporters as their South African Students Congress (Sasco) counterparts pounced on them at the Tshwane University of Technology main campus on Wednesday.

Malema was delivering a speech at the university ahead of the students’ representative council elections scheduled for Thursday.

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He was interrupted as stones and bricks rained down from all angles, thrown by Sasco supporters.

Malema had gone to the campus to motivate EFF supporters to participate in the elections and outvote Sasco.

As he was making his impromptu speech, a group of Sasco members marched towards the stage where he was addressing the crowd. They were chanting anti-Malema songs. Suddenly a stone was flung towards the EFF members from the Sasco turf.

The firebrand parliamentarian paused for a few seconds and was heard saying, “Fighters, attack, attack”. At that moment, more stones and bricks were thrown from both groups.

Met with a show of force from EFF members, the Sasco group retreated to an area in front of one of the buildings, where they had earlier gathered.

But, they quickly regrouped and hurled more stones and bricks, others using hand-held fire-extinguisher spray to keep their opponents at bay.

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During the scuffle, one of Malema’s bodyguards pulled out a firearm, but he didn’t fire any shots.

EFF MP Godrich Gardee also joined the fray, throwing a punch at a Sasco member. More drama unfolded when a female student screamed in agony, covering her face with her hands in front of a parked car, protecting herself from missiles.

The terrified student was rescued by a dreadlocked man who whisked her away from the angry crowd.

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A photographer from daily newspaper, The Citizen, Christine Vermooten, was threatened by a Sasco member, wielding a stone. She was pushed away and prevented from taking pictures, sustaining an injury to her ankle in the process and was rushed to hospital.

Earlier, before Malema arrived, a scuffle ensued when two students from the two opposing organisations engaged in a fistfight.

The Sasco supporter had walked closer to the vehicle branded in EFF colours when he was manhandled. He, however, stood his ground and fought back. Police and campus security guards had their hands full as they tried – in vain – to keep the two groups apart.

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As police watched the two fighting groups, two EFF members attacked a Sasco student, hitting him with a shoe and bare fists.

Amid the chaos, the Sasco member wiped blood from his forehead with a T-shirt. Eventually police were able to calm the two groups.

Neo Manyaka, a second-year student, said the Sasco supporters were jealous of EFF members who were able to get their leader to address them. “They couldn’t get any of their leaders to address them and then decided to disrupt our meeting,” he said.

In the wake of the chaos, Sasco leader Mankie Maluleka said their committee would meet to assess if the situation was conducive to host the elections or not.

He said five Sasco members were injured, adding he was confident that the organisation would walk away victorious in the elections against the EFF. Maluleka blamed university management for granting EFF parliamentarians permission to enter the campus without making sure there was security in place to maintain order.

EFF spokesman Fana Mokoena accused the ANC of having sponsored political intolerance and violence at the campus through Sasco.

He said: “Members of Sasco attacked an EFF public meeting using stones as police stood by doing nothing.” He described Sasco stone-throwers as “buffoons and hooligans”, adding that the EFF would never tolerate political intolerance.

Mokoena said: “We therefore congratulate our commander-in-chief for giving an order to fighters to protect their own meeting from hooligans whose violence had put students and journalists at risk.”

From the TUT main campus, Malema headed to the two university campuses in Ga-Rankuwa and Soshanguve where he addressed students without any disturbance.

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Pretoria News

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