Threats to burn down mayor’s parents’ home

24/01/2016. Angry protesters barricade a street in Ateridgville as they show their disatisfaction on the ANC at Magombane street. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

24/01/2016. Angry protesters barricade a street in Ateridgville as they show their disatisfaction on the ANC at Magombane street. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Published Jan 25, 2016


Pretoria - Actions described as being foreign to the ANC in the Tshwane region continued to wreak havoc in the party at the weekend, culminating in angry members threatening to torch the home of regional chairman Kgosientso Ramokgopa.

The parents of Ramokgopa, who is mayor of the city, live at the Magombane Street home in Atteridgeville. Drama first erupted last week when members were attacked at branch meetings in Bronkhorstspruit, Winterveld and Hammanskraal. This resulted in the now-infamous naked bottom protest by Hammanskraal women at the party’s offices in Arcadia.

The ANC Women’s League branded their actions as being foreign to the ruling party. But matters reached a new low when a large crowd gathered outside Ramokgopa’s parents’ home as the unhappiness within the party escalated.

The dispute is understood to be about the nomination of candidates for the upcoming municipal elections. Party members have expressed discontent with what they say is intimidation and alleged rigging of votes in several wards.

They have accused the ANC leadership of imposing their choices on whom ordinary members would like to propose as candidates.

The matter came to a head yet again during another meeting at Seshogong Primary School in Atteridgeville on Saturday morning. The disgruntled members told the Pretoria News the voting process was not in line with the party’s constitution.

A party member who declined to be named said there were “bouncers with guns” who prevented card-carrying ANC members from entering the premises.

They allegedly also prevented them from casting votes.

Those who were denied the right to vote were not happy with Ramokgopa and claimed they knew that city residents were also unhappy with the mayor and his administration. They said they wanted to vote him and “his friends” out.

The angry crowd then barricaded the intersection of Maunde and Magombane streets with rocks and burning tyres. They also threatened to torch the home of Ramokgopa’s parents if he did not appear and listen to their grievances.

Police had to use rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.

Gordon Rabodiba, one of the protesters, said they demanded that the mayor address them regarding the events at the Atteridgeville meeting. “He has chosen his own people. They are going to rig votes just like they have done before.

“We want him out because he hasn’t done anything for this community,” said Rabodiba.

The situation was just as tense in Stinkwater on Friday evening. ANC members were infuriated and bemused at Ward 95’s bi-annual branch meeting when MMC for Sports and Recreation Nozipho Tyobeka-Makeke, who was overseeing the meeting, allegedly left the meeting with a list of members who had voted for a candidate.

Makeke was apparently unhappy with the results, they claimed.

“Makeke saw that the numbers were not in favour of the current councillor and the mayor’s preferred choice, Aaron Maluleke, and took off with the membership list.

“This disrupted the process and she knew it,” said an ANC member who was at the meeting.

ANC regional spokesman Teboho Joala could not confirm the events leading to the protest outside the home of the mayor’s parents. But he urged party members to file formal complaints of their grievances to receive the necessary attention.

“These are things that need to go through internal processes. If members are not happy they need to go to the regional offices and to file a complaint, not to the home of the mayor’s parents,” said Joala.

He said he could not make any sense of why protesters demanded that Ramokgopa address them as he was not a presiding officer at the branch gatherings.

Joala denied allegations that Makeke fled with the membership list and said the matter should have been brought to the attention of the party.

“We call on members to desist from approaching the media with internal issues,” he said.

Political analyst Professor Lesiba Teffo said these acts could signal doom for the ANC and the country as a whole as the leadership had failed to act decisively on the growing trend of intimidation and factionalism within the party.

“I don’t feel the leadership is out there to deal with the challenge. Unless there is an intervention, things could get worse,” said Teffo.

He said self-enrichment was the root of the factionalism which had manifested itself in recent weeks.

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Pretoria News

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