WATCH: Angry residents heckle Ramaphosa as he tries to blaze ANC campaign trail in KZN
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Durban: President Cyril Ramaphosa nearly lost his cool at Folweni township in Durban on Saturday when angry ANC members mobbed and booed him while he was addressing a campaign rally.
That happened at around 12pm, and Ramaphosa's close protection unit, the SAPS, Durban metro police and ANC marshals had to form a security ring around the stage, which was mounted on an ANC-branded truck.
The angry group of ANC members alleged that the local ANC councillor candidate, Thokozani Xulu, was imposed ahead of their preferred candidate, Sisulu Nhlumayo.
According to the members, Xulu was first imposed in 2016, and has been brought back again this time around.
"Look at me, police shot at us while (we were) protesting against Xulu," said one protester among the crowd, and was carrying a banner inscribed "Xulu must fall".
At some point, the opposing crowds briefly exchanged blows and police had to intervene.
Before booing and mobbing Ramaphosa, the angry protesters had locked horns with Fikile Mbalula, who accused them of being unruly and impossible to engage with.
Mbalula later accused the protesters of being drunk during their protest.
WATCH: An angry Fikile Mbalula telling protesting ANC members members that they are drunk and were bought with alcohol. He said he forgave them because they "were bought with alcohol" to disrupt the rally. The members are against ANC candidate, Thokozani Xulu. @IOL #LGE2021 pic.twitter.com/sJ3rHZeyai— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) October 9, 2021
Addressing the rally amid drowning boos and counter-booing between Xulu and Nhlumayo supporters, Ramaphosa lambasted the protesters, saying their behaviour was foreign to ANC culture.
"Forward with our candidate forward, forward with Comrade Xulu, forward. We will vote for him because we are voting for the ANC," Ramaphosa told the opposing crowds.
He later told the ANC supporters to ignore the "nywe nywe nywee" and stick to the ANC candidate who has already been picked.
"Ignore those who are amongst us who saying ntswi ntswi ntwsi," he said in Zulu.
Xulu said he was overwhelmingly nominated at the ANC branch level and endorsed by his community of his ward.
"Their candidate failed all those processes and they know that. So, in that case, how can they claim I was imposed...(they) are not telling the truth," Xulu said.