All hell broke loose in the Alfred Nzo District at the weekend when ANC Youth League (ANCYL) members turned on each other before a planned regional elective conference.
Shots were fired between members of disgruntled factions as hundreds of ANCYL members gathered in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality’s offices in emaXesibeni (formerly Mount Ayliff) on Saturday.
Besides fist fights, stones and chairs were thrown about as bloodied “comrades” attacked each other in a battle for positions. Some of the delegates in the conference hid inside their cars, while others were fired at or pelted with stones, and others found their tyres slashed.
As a result, the elective conference was aborted and a number of the league’s members were taken to nearby hospitals. Police have so far not made any arrests.
EmaXesibeni police spokesman Captain Mlungisi Matidane referred questions to the provincial SAPS office.
However, the provincial office referred the Dispatch back to Matidane.
Attempts to get hold of Matidane were unsuccessful late yesterday afternoon.
However, the Dispatch understands from police sources that a few people had opened cases with the police and about 15 delegates were hospitalised.
The ANCYL’s regional executive in Alfred Nzo was one of five regional structures dissolved by the league’s provincial task team (PTT) led by Mziwonke Ndabeni.
The delegates were meant to elect new leaders during the “collapsed” conference.
Ndabeni yesterday said they had decided to call off the conference after “numerous gunshots” were fired outside the conference venue.
“We were inside a boardroom, with regional leaders and an NEC deployee still discussing how the gathering was to move forward, when numerous gunshots were fired outside.
“Police then came and asked everyone to evacuate the municipal premises where the conference was to sit as the venue was declared a crime scene,” said Ndabeni.
The violence comes as the ANC in the province resolved not to “recognise” the Ndabeni-led PTT, or any decisions they had taken, including last month’s move to disband five of their regions.
The disbanded regions include Alfred Nzo, Buffalo City, Amathole, Chris Hani and Joe Gqabi.
The PTT was established after the league’s NEC dissolved its provincial executive committee led by Butsha Lali as secretary and chairman, Nathi Nqoko, in November.
Lali and Nqoko’s dissolved structure was also elected in a chaotic conference where delegates were allegedly beaten up by older members of the ANC.
The disbanded PEC has since appealed their dissolution and have pleaded with the ANC national working committee to reverse the decision. A decision on their appeal is still pending.
Some of those who spoke to the Dispatch on condition they remain anonymous said the fracas began when some league members wanted to enter the venue despite them not being accredited to attend the conference. — firstname.lastname@example.org