The ANC's Thuma Mina campaign has taken a violent turn, after three people were stabbed in a clash between party members in Mpumalanga.
The three have opened cases with the Tonga police, after allegedly being attacked by their fellow comrades because they did not want them to attend an ANC meeting.
ANC leaders, including its deputy president David Mabuza, national chair Gwede Mantashe, Secretary General Ace Magashule and treasurer General Paul Mashatile, along with national executive committee members, have been deployed across the province, conducting door to door campaigns and holding community meetings ahead of the 2019 national elections.
Denial about involvement
Some even claimed that NEC member and spokesperson Pule Mabe was present during the altercation.
Mabe, however, has denied this, explaining that although he had been around Block A in the Nkomazi area, he had left when members confronted one another. He added that some party members had also made the claims to him.
"We have since asked our fellow deployees to check and establish the facts. Some of us had left earlier due to many other tasks in the province associated with the roll-out of the programme," Mabe told News24.
(Supplied to News24)
In a statement made to the police, one of the alleged victims Thembisle Mokamu claimed that both the ANC regional chairperson Ngrayi Ngwenya and ANC Youth League regional Chair Bheki Lubisi were part of a "mob" that attacked her and a few others, telling them they had no right to attend ANC meetings.
When asked for comment by News24, Mokamu said the two leaders were part of a group who threw stones and beat up some party members. She insisted the conflict was sparked by their mere presence at a local school.
"They said we had no right to be there," she alleged.
Mokamu also claimed she was stabbed by Ngwenya.
"There was a scuffle, I was pushed to the floor and that when Ngrayi stabbed me. I didn't even realise he had done so until comrades pointed out the blood on my hand," said Mokamu.
(Supplied to News24)
When asked about the allegations, Lubisi said he had also left the school when the scuffle took place, but admitted that there was tension between different party members.
"I spoke to those people earlier but I did not witness an attack, let alone participate in one," he told News24.
Lubisi claimed Mokamu and some of the party members were forcing others to participate in a meeting with national leaders over the Thuma Mina campaign. He said he asked them to leave, as volunteers had already been picked to participate in the meetings.
"The comrades are from our branches and we told them we have volunteers, so I asked them why they were there," explained Lubisi.
"They might have been attacked by community members, not comrades from the ANC," he insisted.
Attempts to reach Ngwenya have not been successful.