RUSTENBURG – Disgruntled ANC members in North West marched on Monday, calling for the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party to remove North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo and disband the provincial executive.
“The members of the ANC were marching to hand over a memorandum to the NEC at the Rustenburg municipality, asking them to intervene in the problem facing the province. The march was interrupted and we decided to retreat,” said Rocky Malebana-Metsing, a veteran ANC member.
Earlier police used stun grenades to separate ANC members embarking on the march from other party cadres who were trying to prevent the protest from going ahead.
Malebana-Metsing claimed people who were benefiting from “ongoing corruption” in the province rented a crowd from the townships and gave them ANC T-shirts with instructions to interrupt the march.
“We applied for this march, it was approved, we issued notices to the municipality, the police and the court,” said Malebana-Metsing.
At one stage, while a cordon of police separated the factions, the ANC members hurled bricks, stones and other objects at each other near the intersection of Oliver Tambo Drive and Steen Street in the central Rustenburg.
Traffic flow on Oliver Tambo heading to Pretoria and Johannesburg was interrupted for more than four hours as the two groups attempted to find their way around the police.
“The police protected them instead of stopping them. We are here to stop them ourselves. They are not going to cross that street,” said a young man from the ANC faction identifying itself as the “volunteer group”.
One man from the volunteer group armed with a knobkerrie attacked local radio journalist Bennet Monanyane of Mafisa FM while he was filing his story live on air.
“That man accused me of filing an incorrect report. He chased me and tried to take my cellphone,” said Monanyane.
After about an hour the marchers turned on Steen Street, escorted by the police. The gathered at an open space near the taxi rank.
A police helicopter monitored the situation from above.
Malebana-Metsing said the group would remain there until a meeting of branch secretaries and chairperson with ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, was over. They were expected to hold a meeting with Manatashe later in the evening.
ANC North West provincial secretary Dakota Legoete was not reachable.
African News Agency