Ace Magashule reads the riot act as fists fly at ANC community meeting

09 January 2020 - 19:57 By ZIMASA MATIWANE and ZINGISA MVUMVU
Fists fly as ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule speaks in the Northern Cape on Thursday, January 9 2020.
Fists fly as ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule speaks in the Northern Cape on Thursday, January 9 2020.
Image: Sunday Times/Masi Losi

Fists and klaps flew in front of ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule during an eventful community meeting at Jan Kempdorp outside Kimberley on Thursday.

At least two fights between attending ANC members and supporters broke out — one barely five metres away from Magashule who was listening to residents' concerns.

The brawls were sparked by disagreements among the ANC members and supporters related to factions at local level.

Magashule condemned the acts and forced one of the attendees engaged in the physical confrontation to apologise in public.

Magashule read them the riot act, saying he was not afraid to deal with ANC members who engaged in fights at party meetings.

“Even those who were fighting in this meeting, we understand why they were fighting but they must not disrespect us because we can also be disrespectful when we want,” he said.

“If you think you are the king of fights in society, we will visit you and that nonsense will end.

“And you [one of the people who was fighting] are wearing an ANC T-shirt and fighting in front of leadership. You must never do that again, even in the absence of leadership, because the organisation will charge you for ill-discipline,” he warned.

“When you fight here it is a sign that you are among those causing havoc in ANC structures here. Come and apologise to the people.”

In the community meeting, about 20 people were given an opportunity to raise complaints.

Most were about alleged nepotism by municipal officials and the ANC internal divisions in the Francis Baard region which were spilling over to the local ANC government.

Other community members told Magashule they were concerned the party only took them seriously during election season but dumped them once they had voted.

Magashule said the ANC cared about and would attend to all issues raised.

The ANC secretary-general made a commitment on the spot to take 10 matriculants from the small town, who came from poor backgrounds, to university.

He also pledged to find employment overseas for three unemployed graduates from the community.

“We have traversed this province, we have seen the poverty in this province. We have smelled the poverty in this province,” said Magashule.

“I will come back here. I have committed a lot of things. Young people have no activities, there are no recreational facilities.”