OPPOSITION parties have lashed out at ANC supporters for allegedly trying to intimidate other parties from campaigning freely in the province.
This follows Thursday’s drama at the University of Fort Hare where South African Students Congress (Sasco) supporters, aligned to the ANC, allegedly switched off the lights while DA leader Helen Zille was addressing a student crowd.
A similar incident occurred in Ngqeleni, near Mthatha, a few weeks ago when ANC supporters tried to stop Zille from using a church hall, saying it was the party’s church.
Former Eastern Cape premier Nosimo Balindlela, now a DA member, was forced to address supporters under a tree after an ANC councillor reportedly used the same hall the DA had booked.
Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was also barred from using a community hall in Queenstown a few weeks ago after being told it had been booked by the ANC.
DA provincial spokeswoman Veliswa Mvenya lashed out at the ANC, saying it lacked leadership.
“The ANC, which claims to have brought us democracy, is now pissing on it,” said Mvenya.
She said that after the incident in Ngqeleni, she had asked the party’s elections head in the province, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, to distance the party from its supporters’ behaviour but nothing had come of it.
“We are getting reports that it is them [ANC leadership] that are sending their supporters. How are we not to believe that when they are not publicly distancing themselves from the incidents?” said Mvenya.
Zille said: “It is clear that the DA is growing very rapidly and that the ANC is terrified of losing power. We have had a foretaste of what to expect in the 2014 election.
“We will not be intimidated. We will stand firm and uphold everyone’s right to choose the government they want, whether it is on a university campus or in the Union Buildings.”
ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane yesterday dismissed as “paranoia” allegations that the ANC was behind disruptions of opposition party gatherings.
“The ANC would not have a position like that [disruption of meeting]. If their meetings can’t sit well, they must not blame the ANC,” said Mabuyane.
He said anyone could wear an ANC T-shirt but that didn’t mean they were members of the party.
However, Mabuyane said the ANC was disgusted by “such barbarism” and would never tolerate it.
EFF Chris Hani regional coordinator Luthando Amos said the party was denied use of a community hall after it was said to be booked by the ANC. The party went on to address its members at Chris Hani Square.
He said even EFF members were being intimidated and threatened. —