South Africans have had to witness their politicians engage in physical and verbal altercations far too often, from chairs being thrown to heated debates turning into wars of words. It’s both unsettling and amusing to witness ordinarily composed people lose their cool in such settings. In light of the recent clashes with political groups, Let’s us take a compassionate look at some of the awkward and uncomfortable moments experienced by Mzansi’s leaders.
1. ANC’s festival of chairs:
It was an unfortunate incident at the African National Congress (ANC) Eastern Cape elective conference in East London back in 2017. The political party’s factions clashed, resulting in violent behavior by the supporters of Phumulo Masualle and Oscar Mabuyane. It must have been truly distressing to witness the conference centre turned into a boxing ring, with plastic chairs being thrown as weapons. It is heart-wrenching when political events escalate into such destructive behavior.
As reported by TimesLIVE, Zizi Kodwa, then the ANC National Spokesperson, denounced the violence and expressed the party’s continuous efforts to eliminate division within its ranks. He acknowledged that although the ANC values democracy, some individuals struggle to accept electoral defeat. This highlights the importance of fostering compassion and understanding, especially in the midst of political turmoil.
2. EFF’s umpteenth clash with parliament security:
It’s hard to forget the emotional removal of Julius Malema, the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), and his fellow party members from South Africa’s National Assembly during a Q&A session with former President Jacob Zuma. The event left a lasting impact on many who witnessed it.
Before they were asked to leave, members of the EFF put up a passionate struggle against the Parliamentary Protective Service officials. In their protest, they threw water bottles and even their own red hard hats towards the security personnel. Additionally, they chanted “Zuma must go” in a show of strong conviction.
EWN reported that paramedics rushed in after a physical altercation, and unfortunately an MP had to be transported out on a stretcher. The National Assembly halls were engulfed in a cloud of white smoke, apparently caused by the activation of a fire extinguisher. Malema is said to have made comments suggesting that the party was willing to respond to violence with violence.
3. DA vs ANC over land invasion in Orange Farm;
In 2016, tensions boiled over at the Chris Hani Hall in Orange Farm when members of the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the ANC exchanged insults. The situation was so intense that public order policing members and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department had to be called in. It must have been a difficult and challenging experience for everyone involved, especially for the DA Mayor Herman Mashaba who was scheduled to address the community on the issue of land invasion.
Allegations have been made by members of the ANC that the mayor had somehow managed to weaken the position of ward councillors who were part of the political party. This had led to tensions between supporters of opposition parties, resulting in clashes, causing much distress and concern. As a consequence, the ANC has stated that they cannot allow the mayor to enter the area.
4. Physical altercation overshadows President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Q&A
In 2018, there was a moment of tension during President Cyril Ramaphosa’s question and answer session. Unfortunately, the situation escalated into a fistfight between the DA’s chief whip and the EFF. It is understandable that emotions were running high as both parties engaged in name-calling, with John Steenhuisen referring to EFF MPs as “VBS looters” and Malema responding with the slur “white boy”. It is unfortunate when political disagreements turn violent, and we hope that lawmakers can find more peaceful ways to resolve their differences in the future.
During a recent parliamentary session, Agang South Africa’s MP Andries Tlouamma brought up a concern that the EFF’s alleged statement about restricting white people’s ability to speak was unfair. Unfortunately, he was met with verbal aggression from members of the EFF.
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