JOHANNESBURG - While embattled South Africa President Jacob Zuma came under increased pressure to step down this week, his eldest son, Edward, was fighting to become chairperson of the Msholozi branch in KwaNxamalala Village in Nkandla.
But his bid was thwarted after the general meeting last Sunday to elect a new branch leadership came to a halt after chaos ensued.
This was after Edward’s supporters and those backing Doctor Bhengu, an ANC member, also eyeing the position of chairperson, squared off.
No one was injured and no case was opened.
An ANC member who attended the meeting said the skirmish was triggered by an objection that was raised by Edward after one of his backers was barred from being part of the meeting because her name did not appear on the voters’ roll.
The faction opposed to Edward started chanting and drowned him out when he wanted to raise his objection.
Edward could not raise his objection with Bongi Simelane, who was deployed by Musa Dladla region (second biggest after eThekwini) to oversee the elections.
“Enraged, Edward’s supporters retaliated by singing derogatory songs about Bhengu’s supporters.
That’s when things got out of control between the factions”, said an ANC member.
“People rushed for cover when things got out of hand. I am still wondering how no one got hurt,” said another ANC member.
Initially, police were not present at the meeting but when tensions rose they were called to calm things down.
Edward is a member of Msholozi branch and like any ANC member in good standing he qualified to stand for positions.
The meeting, which was attended by more than 300 ANC members, was postponed to April 30.
Former branch chairperson Bongokwakhe Mbambo was elected as ward councillor during last year’s local government elections.
Edward was nominated to take over as branch chairperson. But Mbambo lobbied for his own candidate, Bhengu, to take over.