Details of the conference remained under wraps at the weekend, but the victims told the Pretoria News they were attacked because of their choice for candidates for the regional leadership structure. The alleged attack took place at a Sunnyside petrol service station on Thursday night.
The accused allegedly used an axe to break the windows of a VW Polo that belonged to another EFF member, leaving a dent next to a door handle.
While the accused faces charges of assault and malicious damage to property, police spokesperson Captain Daniel Mavimbela said that in all likelihood more charges could be added as the investigations continued.
One of the victims said she feared for her life after the attack. She claimed to have been punched in the face and kicked in the leg, suffering bruises.
“I was at the service station with three other fighters (EFF members) when the accused pulled in driving his blue VW Polo and accompanied by three other fighters.
“One of them approached us and started an argument over something we did not even understand.
“One of the guys I was with responded, but the person poured an energy drink over him,” she said.
“The next thing another one of my friends was attacked from behind. But my friends stood up to him, and that’s when the accused went to his vehicle and took out an axe.
“We had by then run to seek refuge in the shop.
“When we came out, he tried to attack me with the axe. One of the fighters who was with me ran towards his silver VW Polo. The accused then followed him and smashed the windows of the car. He also dented the door.
“In my entire life I have never been beaten by a man. This is something on another level; I cannot explain it. I fear for my life because even before this incident, I had been receiving threats over the phone. I have changed my number three times now,” she said.
She was wearing a shirt showing support for her preferred candidate for the position of regional chairperson, she said.
She declared her support for the member and was very vocal about it.
The woman later posted about the incident on her Facebook page, naming all the accused. The Pretoria News has withheld her name as well as those of her companions and the occupants of the other car.
“I am now scared that they will come to my flat and attack me and my family. Is this how we are going to live our lives because we are rallying behind change in Tshwane?” she posted.
The owner of the damaged vehicle opened a case immediately after the attack.
He said: “That man wanted to kill us. I want him to be charged with attempted murder.
“I cannot say I know why he attacked me; I hear it is related to the EFF conference. Why was he travelling with an axe anyway? And why did he damage my car if he had a problem with me? My car did nothing to him.”
The Pretoria News asked the service station for CCTV footage, but management said this could be shown to police for the purpose of an investigation.
The alleged perpetrator was contacted for his side of the story, but he said: “I am waiting for an advocate who said I must not say anything at this stage. I was advised not to comment.”
EFF national spokesperson Dr Mbuyiseni Ndlozi encouraged members to bring the matter to the attention of the party “with the same confidence” they had when they reported it to the police.
“People could be trying to bring the party into disrepute.
“That is why we encourage them to bring these kind of matters to our attention. We will be willing to deal with the matters because the EFF code of conduct is clear. This is something we are not going to allow.”