War of words after ANC and EFF political turf war resurfaces in Limpopo

A nine-year-old girl who was a bystander was shot and wounded when members of the ANC and the EFF clashed at Juju Valley, Seshego, Limpopo. Picture: Screengrab/X

A nine-year-old girl who was a bystander was shot and wounded when members of the ANC and the EFF clashed at Juju Valley, Seshego, Limpopo. Picture: Screengrab/X

Published May 20, 2024


Just a week before the May 29 elections, tensions escalated in Juju Valley township near Polokwane, Limpopo, reigniting a longstanding political feud.

Videos circulating on social media depicted armed groups engaged in a violent confrontation during door-to-door election campaigning on Sunday.

The two groups exchanged fire while some were seen throwing stones at each other during an election door-to-door campaign.

In what was seen as political intolerance, one group wearing ANC T-shirts; the other clad in EFF regalia, were involved in a turf war that resulted in a 9-year-old girl fighting for her life in hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds, while 11 more were injured after being caught in the crossfire.

Limpopo police confirmed that they were investigating cases of attempted murder following the violence.

“The violence erupted during a campaign event between rival political parties, leading to an escalation that endangered the life of an innocent 9-year-old bystander,” said Brigadier Hlulani Mashaba, Limpopo police spokesperson.

“The police and emergency medical services responded swiftly to the scene, providing immediate assistance to the minor girl and commencing a thorough investigation into the matter. Another case was later reported after it was established that a 25-year-old man was shot during the scuffle.”

Juju Valley, mostly occupied by EFF supporters, is named after the party’s president Julius Malema, who several years ago encouraged his members to grab the land and build shacks.

According to a witness, the trouble started after the ANC kicked off its door-to-door campaign in the area.

‘The Star’ understands tensions flared after former EFF chairperson in the province, Jossey Buthane, left the Red Berets to join the ANC following a fallout with Malema.

Buthane claimed scores of EFF supporters crossed with him to the ANC. These former EFF members were among those who were attacked.

In a statement released yesterday afternoon after a media briefing, the ANC pointed a finger at the EFF, calling them EFF criminals and saying the attack was pre-planned because they had hired “contract killers”.

Its provincial secretary, Rueben Madadzhe, said EFF supporters mobilised a group of their members and “criminals” who were armed with guns and live ammunition, with the intention of preventing and disrupting the ANC’s elections campaign.

“These armed members and criminals attacked the ANC volunteers led by the regional leadership of the ANC in Peter Mokaba, resulting in 12 people sustaining injuries from gunshots and sharp objects.

“In the history of this democracy, even at the height of political tensions, in the period after 1994, it is unheard of, for any political formation, to employ ‘nkabis (contract killers) and gangsters’, to shoot at members of another organisation while doing political work.”

Madadzhe called on the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) to take action against the EFF for the party’s role in inciting violence and disrupting the democratic process.

However, the EFF in the province said the violence was between ANC leaders and residents of the area.

Its provincial convener and former party secretary-general, Godrich Gardee, called on law enforcement and the IEC to investigate the matter.

Gardee called on his party members not to fall into the trap of provocation that threatens to disrupt the elections.

Battered and bruised ANC members, Matome Moropana and Geodfrey Mohlamonyane, told The Star that they want justice after they were physically attacked and assaulted.

“After the campaign, I was walking with two party members when all of a sudden a Toyota Quantum pulled over next to us. A number of men wearing EFF T-shirts came out and started throwing bricks at us, one landed on my spinal cord and I fell down.

“The other comrade managed to run and the other one was assaulted with fists on the face and head. Those people are outsiders, they are not from our township,” said Moropana.

Mohlamonyane said this was not his first time being attacked for being an ANC member.

“I have identified one man who was also at the scuffle between the two political parties which ensued. He was part of the men who attacked us who were travelling in a taxi. We are preparing ourselves to go and open a case with the police,” said Mohlamonyane.

He said after the attack, they went to Seshego Hospital for medical treatment.

“Returning from the hospital, I was shocked to find my car and shack vandalised. I could not sleep at my place because I was afraid the attackers would return. I slept at Moropana’s home,” he said.

Both men said they were going to open a criminal case against their attackers.

The Star

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