ANCYL member killed while trying to protect his comrade
A member of the ANC Youth League who was shot in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, died trying to save his friend who was apparently under attack.
According to eyewitnesses, Lethabo Nkoana, 25, was hit by a bullet apparently meant for his friend on Saturday afternoon during a league meeting at Temba Stadium, in Tshwane, that turned violent.
Another league member who was also shot was hospitalised.
The meeting was called by the ANC national youth task team as part of its
programme to assess the state of the youth league ahead of next year's conference.
Nkoana's close friend, who did not wish to be named fearing victimisation, said his friend "took a bullet for him".
"We were in the hall singing and I was on a table. All of a sudden an angry group came to me and grabbed the table. I stepped down, but they started beating me with it," said Nkoana's friend.
"As they were beating me, Lethabo grabbed me and took me outside. A few minutes later a shot was fired. It hit Lethabo and I believe it was meant for me."
Yesterday, the Nkoana home in Mamelodi was a hive of activity with members of the ANC visiting the family to convey their condolences.
Psychology Lethuba, the family spokesperson, said the family was still in shock at Nkoana's sudden death.
Lethuba described Nkoana as a loving person who denounced violence and was "a respected young man who loved the ANC".
He said Nkoana fought for the rights of pupils in Tshwane as a member of Cosas from 2013, and was also a supporter of the #NotInMyName movement which advocates for the safety of women and children.
ANC national youth task team spokesperson Sizophila Mkhize said they didn't have security at the venue because they had not before experienced such incidents at their meetings.
Mkhize said the league's national task team was disturbed and dismayed at the violence, which took place "at an assembly of cadres of the ANCYL".
"The cadres' assembly was adjourned as a result of disruptions and after the adjournment violence escalated outside the venue, leading to the killing of
comrade Lethabo Nkoana."
Brig Mathapelo Peters said reports showed "the deceased was trying to diffuse the fight when an unknown man emerged from the crowd and fired shots at the deceased, fatally wounding the 25-year-old victim.
"Another victim, alleged to be the organiser of the rally, was also shot and was taken to hospital," said Peters. "The suspect is said to have driven off in a grey BMW."
History of league's chaotic meetings
Several ANC Youth League meetings have in the past seen violent disruptions.
Last month, a meeting organised by the ANC national youth task team in Limpopo turned rowdy and experienced disruptions.
One gathering that really caught the attention of the public was the chaotic ANCYL 2008 Mangaung conference.
This saw rival factions exchange blows and throw bottles at each other.
The conference saw some ANCYL members, among other things, carrying makeshift coffins bearing the names of members whose political careers were said to have ended. - Staff Reporter