Family of slain ANC branch secretary is suing the party for R55 million
Johannesburg - The family of a slain local ANC leader who was killed at a branch general meeting (BGM) in Mpumalanga is suing the governing party for R55 million for alleged negligence and failing to provide security.
In the court papers filed at the South Gauteng High Court on December 11, Prince Manzini’s family said the former branch secretary was assaulted to death at a tense party meeting in full view of his fellow ANC comrades in March this year.
The violent BGM took place at Gutshwa, near Nsikazi in the Ehlanzeni region to elect delegates to the 13th provincial ANC conference which was scheduled for April this year.
According to the family’s founding affidavit, chairs flew at the meeting when rival factions clashed over credentials. This was when it emerged that some ANC members had allegedly been allowed to participate without having their identity documents scanned and signing the attendance register.
In the court papers, Manzini’s wife, Silindile Hlatshwayo and his stepson Benjamin Hlatshwayo, said they had been struggling to survive since the death of the breadwinner.
Manzini also left behind two other children aged 16 and 10.
The family made a claim for funeral costs, loss of support and emotional shock, trauma and grief. The Manzinis claimed R10 million for emotional shock, trauma and grief they claimed to have suffered. They also demanded R100 000 for funeral costs and gave the ANC 20 days to respond.
Manzini's brother, Bethuel Manzini, said life has been difficult for his family since the passing of the local politician.
"Things are tough for my late brother's family. The family now survives on donations made by the relatives and members of the ANC in their personal capacities, and these donations are not enough and are not always on time. As a family, we perceived that things cannot continue like this and that is why we opted for the lawsuit," said Bethuel.
The sister-in-law (Silindile Hlatshwayo) has developed chest pains that would require her to visit the doctors. But because we don't have money, she can't. This shows that the wealth of the family is at stake. Things are very, very tough. We even struggled to pay the school fees of one of his children. This nearly impacted on her ability to study.”
The family’s lawyer, Eric Mabuza, claimed that Manzini’s family suffered the following damaged as a result of his death at the hands of his fellow comrades:
– R10 million for past and future loss for Silindile as an unemployed housewife.
– R40 million for past and future loss of his biological children, 16 and 10.
– And R5 million for past and future loss for Benjamin
Mabuza said in total the family wanted the ANC to pay an amount of R55 million.
“Interest on the above amounts calculated at 7% per annum from date of judgment,” Mabuza said.
He said Manzini was a legitimate delegate as he had been serving as a branch secretary and “an active fully paid up member in good standing on that fateful day”.
“The deceased (Manzini) died due to grievous bodily assault inside and outside the hall where the ANC branch meeting was convened. The deceased was assaulted by the ANC members or unknown people who were in attendance or authorised by the ANC members in the meeting. Some of these members and attendees who assaulted the deceased were arrested and the criminal case is pending at the Ka-Bokweni Magistrate Court,” Mabuza added.
He said the violence happened in full view of the ANC senior leaders who were delegated to preside over the meeting.
National ANC spokesperson, Pule Mabe failed to respond to a request for comment.