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Assessing and promoting civil and minority rights in South Africa.

SAM ANC skare[Source: by Beauregard Tromp and Sibongakonke Shoba.]

Rail trip from Cape Town birthday bash turns ugly as MK veterans kick and punch pregnant woman and party members in fight over food.

A group of ANC military veterans beat up and tortured party supporters during a train trip from its Cape Town birthday bash last weekend.

Gauteng party supporters, who were on the 36-hour trip home from the ANC’s 103rd birthday celebrations, said conflict between them and members of Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association broke out over the distribution of free food parcels.

ANC Youth League activists who were on the train protested when they learnt that food, provided for free for about 1000 passengers on the train by the party, was being sold.

Their protests allegedly resulted in the veterans unleashing terror upon them, shouting “We want your blood!”

One member of the youth league – who asked to remain anonymous – said she feared for her unborn child after she was tortured for three hours by veterans on the Johannesburg-bound train.

The violence was alleged to have been perpetrated by gun-carrying, uniformed former MK memberswho, witnesses said, spent much of the journey drinking in a carriage they had commandeered.

The brutality on the train has been confirmed by a number of travellers on the trip.

“When you look at the pictures at the Apartheid Museum, where white police are hitting the people, it was like that,” said one witness.

Officials at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa who asked to remain anonymous said they were aware of the incident. But agency spokesman Moffet Mofokeng said the incident had not been reported to it.

Veterans’ association Johannesburg chairman Junior Mokotjo said there was a fight “between two drunk comrades. I don’t know why they were fighting.” This was repeated by the ANC Youth League’s Johannesburg chairman, Percy Ntsolo.

“It was just two drunk people fighting over a seat. It did not escalate to a major thing. The leadership and security immediately intervened.”

But train passengers told a different story.

Witnesses said the fight broke out after the youth league members raised the matter of food from the free parcels being sold, at R5 each for rolls and viennas. A group of veterans then confiscated the food parcels, which contained fruit, cold drinks and water as well as the rolls and viennas.

“They took all the food to their carriage and we saw the MK guys walking through the train eating viennas and rolls,” a traveller said.

Youth league members protested and demanded that food be given to the elderly, but the veterans’ association members told them to “shut up”.

“They [youth league members] started walking through the carriages, singing: ‘Who will say nice things about you when you steal the elderly’s food.'”

By the time the 18-carriage train reached Kimberley, the veterans had approached the “instigators” and started to beat them, witnesses said.

A witness said the armed veterans shouted, “We will show you today. You, the youth league, we want your blood,” as they kicked and punched the younger members.

“They came to them like bees. Even the elders in the carriage were screaming,” said another witness.

One of the MK members with a chain wrapped around his fist started beating a youth league member about the head. As he tried to escape through the window, others forced him back into the carriage.

During the scuffle, veterans accused youth league members of being moles from the Economic Freedom Fighters.

The pregnant woman said she was frog-marched through the carriages and taken to the dark, window-less driver’s quarters, where she had water continually poured over her, and was, she said, forced to do push-ups, kicked and punched by the MK mob.

She said she was accused of being anti-ANC and an EFF agent.

Ntsolo and Mokotjo sai d they were not aware of her ordeal.

ANC spokesman in Gauteng, Nkenke Kekana, said no such incident had been reported to the party. He said he was aware that the same train was stoned when it passed Worcester and two passengers were injured.

“They were taken to hospital and caught the next train.”

Western Cape emergency services spokesman Robert Daniels confirmed that two women were taken off the train at Worcester station.

“One was treated for glass in her eye and the other had a minor injury,” said Daniels. The pair were discharged later that morning.

The train did not reach Johannesburg as the rail agency sent buses to fetch passengers at the Klerksdorp station where paramedics were waiting. The two warring groups were transported in separate buses.

Ntsolo said a meeting had been held on Tuesday with party members who were involved in the “brawl”.

“Both parties apologised to each other and the whole thing is forgotten,” said Ntsolo.

MK veterans association national chairman Kebby Maphatsoe said the incident was not reported to him.

“All I know is that everyone came back safely. The MKMVA cannot clash with the youth league,” he said.

A number of ANC members collapsed, apparently from hunger and dehydration, as they were travelling by bus and taxi back to the Eastern Cape, reports the Saturday Dispatch. Eastern Cape regional ANC leaders are now trying to account for R43000 allocated for food and drinks for the trip.

South Africa at a Glance
57 700 000 (mid 2018 estimate)
4.4% y/y in April 2019 (CPI) & +6.5 y/y in April 2019 (PPI)
-3.2% q/q (1st quarter of 2019)
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