Infighting within ANC lands community members in jail, says the DA

Posted in News by Anchen Coetzee on 11 May, 2017 at 5:21 p.m.

BARBERTON - On Tuesday, a young girl was shot in the stomach on the premises of Barberton Magistrate’s Court. A police vehicle that was transporting arrestees, was also overturned.

According to information received on the day, gangsters were believed to be behind all the mayhem. Original story and video's here.

On Wednesday, however, Africa InTouch News spoke to protesters during a demonstration in General Street in front of the Magistrate’s Court. They wished to remain anonymous, but acknowledged that it was not gangsters who had overturned the police vehicle, but in fact, members of the community. View video's of protest.

DA Cllr Philip Minnaar also addressed the community. Subsequently, Minnaar send us the DA’s take on the incident, as well as details about various requests they plan to send to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the Mpumalanga Department of Education.

Infighting within the ruling party in Umjindi has reached an all-time high, with the local ANC leadership disintegrating at the seams. Notorious criminals, the Panga Gang, have now seemingly become the unofficial ANC leadership structure by dictating all activities in Emjindini. On Monday evening the SAPS arrested several community members after they had been pointed out to the SAPS by the Panga Gang. This happened after a shooting incident in which this same gang fired several shots. The community is extremely unhappy with the situation, to the point that even fear of harassment and assault by these gang members, no longer succeeds in preventing them from taking a stand against these happenings.

The arrested appeared in court on May 9, and a group, comprising of community members, staged a protest about the arrest of their family and friends. The Panga Gang also arrived at the court and, like in the past, it seemed as if gang members forced many school children to join them in an effort to make up numbers.

According to information received, all the detainees have since been released by the court. Angry residents demanded to know how the SAPS could execute these arrests based on information received from armed Panga Gang members. The ANC has lost complete control over their members, and the infighting between the two groups is spiralling out of control. In the meantime, the community has to bear the brunt for this struggle for power and positions.

As a matter of urgency, the DA will request a high-level investigation from the IPID as well as from the Mpumalanga Department of Education into the following:

The relationship between members of the SAPS and members of the Panga Gang. It is a well-known fact that the Panga Gang is heavily involved in drugs, crime, rape, assault and murder. They seem to be untouchable and, should their members be arrested, dockets allegedly disappear and gang members are released the very next day.

The relationship between ANC members, structures and councillors and the Panga Gang. Why is it that the gang is particularly active in wards 44 and 45? According to residents, councillors summon the Panga Gang for protection or support whenever they encounter problems.

Yesterday’s shooting of a young girl. Why was it necessary to use maximum force in the form of live ammunition?

The illegal harassment of school children by forcing them to partake in illegal gatherings and strikes, placing them in danger and depriving them of their right to study in peace.

In view of the above ANC infighting and the collapse of the Mbombela City amalgamation, the lack of service delivery and the proper integration of the two amalgamated municipalities should also be investigated as a matter of urgency.

Article written by: Anchen Coetzee for Ama'Zone Media Solutions t/a Africa InTouch
Sub Editor: Lynette Brink / Letter Linguist 

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