South Africa: ANC Youth Task Team Warned Hammanskraal Was 'Predisposed to Violence' Ahead of Fatal Rally

11 November 2019

The ANC national youth task team has admitted it received a letter warning against hosting its cadre assembly in Hammanskraal ahead of a fatal shooting at the weekend.

Lethabo Nkoana, 25, was shot and killed, while another ANC Youth League (ANCYL) member was wounded at a rally at Temba Stadium, where league members were being briefed on developments for the wing's congress and state of the organisation from task team members.

In a letter to the task team, which News24 has seen, Chipane Seloane raised concerns about the venue selected for the event and questioning the safety of the area.

Seloane sent the letter to the task team last Thursday.

"On October 28, 2019, the ANC ROB [regional office bearers] had a zonal where all ANC BEC [branch executive chairs] were invited, the gathering was disrupted and teargas was thrown in the venue," said Seloane in his letter.

"Given that less than [two] weeks ago an ANC gathering was violently disrupted in Hammanskraal, it would be negligent for the ANC task team to expose the youth to an environment which is predisposed to violence."

Seloane also complained the area was too far for young people in Tshwane, calling the distance between Hammanskraal and other suburbs in the capital city "ridiculous".

He said more central areas would accommodate most of those interested in attending the event.

Seloane added he had raised his concerns out of fear of a repeat of violence at a youth league gathering in Limpopo last month.

"We do not want the Tshwane youth assembly to have anything which resembles that type of behaviour," he said, warning of reputational damage and embarrassment to the organisation.

While Seloane confirmed to News24 he had sent the letter to several task team leaders, he refused to comment any further.

Task team spokesperson Sizophila Mkhize told News24 the interim structure had received the letter but went ahead with their event based on assurances from the regional leadership of both the league and ANC that it was fine to host a rally in Hammanskraal.

"They told us it's safe and that they have held meetings there. They guaranteed us the safety of ANCYL members," she said, insisting it was regional chairperson Lesego Makhubela who gave the area the go-ahead.

Makhubela, who has been out of the country since last week, said the ANCYL had not had any issues with violence in Hammanskraal.

"In our experience, we have had numerous meetings in Tshwane and a great number of them have been hosted without incident or disruption and that's what informed our confidence levels in hosting that meeting because we have never had any problems in the past and in the present," he told News24 via WhatsApp.

Makhubela said even ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule had been in the area for a rally a few weeks ago and the event was held without any incident.

Source: News24

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