Chaos erupted at the Mpumalanga ANC’s regional general council in Mbombela, where enraged members hurled chairs at acting provincial secretary Lindiwe Ntshalintshali on Wednesday.
The culture, sport and recreation executive committee member’s bodyguards had to whisk her away from the stage as pandemonium unfolded.
A delegate of the meeting said: “She sustained scratches here and there, but this was because her bodyguards were taking the blows to protect her.
“Outside the venue the members tried to storm her car but police fired rubber bullets to disperse the unruly group.”
The meeting was convened for Ntshalintshali to announce a directive from the party’s national executive committee to disband Ehlanzeni and Bohlabelo regions and amalgamate them into one region.
Ntshalintshali revealed the list of who would lead the regional task team to oversee the process.
Such meetings have collapsed since Monday – meetings where the provincial executive committee (PEC) is supposed to kick off the disbandment and realignment process. The disbandment is in line with the party’s 2012 policy to align its structures with government demarcation.
On Monday, Mpumalanga’s uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) council members stormed the party’s provincial offices, demanded keys and locked officials out, arguing the PEC was illegitimate and could not disband the two regional executives.
In April, the faction that sought to disband the PEC, as it was supposedly a product of bogus branches, lost in the Mpumalanga High Court in Mbombela because their application was late.
Had it been granted, the order would have disrupted elections and nullified the party’s 54th Nasrec conference, where Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president and David Mabuza his deputy.
Police confirmed that they were investigating a case of common assault in connection with the Ntshalintshali incident.
ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe referred questions to provincial counterpart Sasekani Manzini, who could not be reached for comment.
With the party deeply divided in the province, the unfolding chaos is likely the foretaste of what is to come ahead of the provincial elective congress in December.
The party has been unable to convene the provincial general council to elect Mabuza’s replacement, which was due to happen after the May 8 elections.