Johannesburg - Six delegates from North West at the ANC’s elective conference were arrested at the weekend for possession of a stolen firearm.
The arrest was confirmed by police spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo, who said the six were arrested by members of the Mpumalanga tactical response team during a routine patrol.
It is understood that some of the six were voting delegates. However, this was disputed by the party’s North West spokesperson, Gerald Modise. He confirmed the arrests but said three of the six were non-voting delegates.
“It’s actually only three of them. They were voting delegates but that changed because of the court decision,” he said.
This was after the North West High Court on Friday nullified the ANC Bojanala regional conference.
The court ruling followed a review application by former Bojanala regional secretary Tokyo Mataboge and 39 others, seeking an order to set aside the branch general meeting of 40 branches in Bojanala and nullify the regional conference of September 24.
Information received by The Star indicated that police had received information of “people playing with a firearm in the parking area opposite gate 6. When members responded, six men were found in a Quantum that had North West registration plates,” the source said.
Police then searched the suspects and vehicle. “Nothing was found on the suspects, but a firearm was discovered between the seats on which the suspects were seated,” he said. “The firearm is a Norinco 213 and had five rounds.”
Naidoo confirmed the arrests, adding that the six had been placed in the Booysens police station cells before their court appearance.
“The firearm was reported stolen in Kliptown earlier this month. The suspects are expected to appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court for unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition,” he said.
Earlier indications were that the firearm belonged to a person from Durban.
The Star has the names of the six and their accreditation numbers but cannot identify them as they had not pleaded.
Naidoo later said five of the delegates had been released. The last suspect appeared in court yesterday and was remanded in custody until his next appearance on December 29.