Cele appeals for a ‘political solution’

Date: 18 Feb 2019

POLICE Minister Bheki Cele has called on the IFP and ANC to find a political solution to violence that occurred in Vryheid between supporters of the two parties on Friday.

There is fear that the violence might escalate during the court appearance today of eight people linked to both parties.

Three of the suspects have been charged with attempted murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, while the other five have been charged with public violence.

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said all the suspects would appear at the Vryheid Magistrate’s Court today.

“This matter needs a political solution. The minister wants political parties to have a discussion and agree on the solution,” said Cele’s spokesperson, Reneilwe Serero.

However, both the IFP and ANC blamed each yesterday other for the situation.

The violence began on Thursday and escalated on Friday when ANC-aligned community members marched to the offices of Abaqulusi Municipality, while IFP supporters were marching to Vryheid Magistrate’s Court.

It was alleged that angry residents attacked others with sticks, guns and stones.

IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa alleged that his party’s marchers were confronted by ANC supporters.

“They caused damage to municipal infrastructure and private vehicles, burned tyres and did all sorts of other unbecoming behaviour,” he said.

Hlengwa said IFP members had marched to the court to demand a speedy prosecution of officials who had been accused of corruption.

ANC regional secretary Zakhele Buthelezi raised concerns that the violence might escalate today.

He said protesters had marched to the municipal offices to demand a response to a memorandum they had delivered two weeks earlier.

“On Friday before the march started they (IFP supporters) attacked people,” said Buthelezi.

The ANC’s provincial spokesperson, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu blamed the IFP for preventing residents from marching for the right to better services.

BONGANI HANS bongani.hans@inl.co.za

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