Cops probe attacks on EFF protesters during national shutdown

EFF members take part in the national shutdown march. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

EFF members take part in the national shutdown march. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 24, 2023


Pretoria - Police in Mpumalanga are investigating a series of brutal attacks that left a number of EFF protesters injured while planning to embark on Monday’s national shutdown activities in townships outside Mbombela.

According to provincial police spokesperson Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, the separate attacks took place in Pienaar and Msogwaba and left one person hospitalised.

“Cases of assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm and unlawful discharge of a firearm were registered on Wednesday at the Pienaar police station. The cases were registered separately by different complainants.

“The first complainant is a 45-year-old man, who alleges that at around 8am on March 20 he was on his way to meet (protesters) who were planning to submit a memorandum.

“When he arrived, he found one person being beaten. He was also assaulted and managed to run away. While he was running away shots were fired. He went to hospital due to the injuries he incurred,” Mohlala told the Pretoria News.

He said the second incident involved a 38-year-old man who was assaulted during a meeting at Msogwaba Primary School.

“He and his wife had converged with others in order to go and submit memorandum, but while they were there, two bakkies and a sedan arrived at the scene.

“The occupants of the vehicles started to assault him and when he tried to run away and shots were fired. They all alleged that the suspects were members of the ANC.”

EFF provincial leader Collen Sedibe confirmed that their members were attacked for attempting to participate in a peaceful protest.

He said other incidents happened in Mbombela and Bushbuckridge.

“The EFF in Mpumalanga has noted with utter disgust and great dismay the assault, intimidation, abuse, and shooting of our members who were participating during the peaceful protest as part of the national shutdown.

“In Pienaar, our members were assaulted with sjamboks and shot at by members of the ANC. They were denied the right to protest by thugs belonging to the ANC. In the same area in Ward 29 one of our fighters is lucky to be alive after his house was attacked, damaged, and shot at by the same ANC hooligans,” Sedibe said.

He congratulated the EFF members who managed to lay criminal charges against the alleged perpetrators, but said a charge of attempted murder should be added.

“The EFF will demand that attempted murder charges be brought against the ANC members. The EFF provincial leadership would therefore like to take this opportunity and thank all fighters and ground forces for mobilising and holding peaceful protests throughout the province.

“The message was loud and clear, and everyone is still talking about the EFF. The leadership would also like to wish all our fearless fighters and community members who endured assaults and abuse at the hands of the police and ANC members a speedy recovery,” Sedibe said.

The ANC in Mpumalanga said it was not aware aware of the incident, but would urgently look into the matter.

Pretoria News