The Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court was brought to a standstill yesterday as warring ANC factions started throwing punches in the court over ANC councillor candidate list.
In the midst of the chaos, the magistrate was forced to abandon the courtroom, ordering the police’s tactical response team (TRT) to restore order in the court.
The conflicting ANC Mbali branch members from two factions fighting over ANC councillor candidate list for August 3 elections were literally dragged out from the courtroom for causing disorder.
The incident suspended other court proceedings for about 30 minutes as members of the two factions kept calling each other nasty names which resulted to fistfights inside the courtroom.
Bail proceedings of Bonginkosi Mbuyiseni Shabalala, 40, who is accused of murder resumed with only a few ANC members from both factions.
Shabalala is facing charges for killing Ntshapha and Ngubane, who were shot dead while returning from a branch meeting in Mbali earlier in June.
Edendale ANC branch chairman Nathi Hlongwa and treasurer Simo Mncwabe, were also gunned down in separate incidents on June 1.
During his bail application, Shabalala maintained that he is innocent and will not attempot to evade trial if granted bail.
“I don’t earn much as a security officer, but that which I earn I use to support my four children and contribute to my mother’s upkeep,” he said in his affidavit.
“I’m a responsible ANC member. Because of factionalism in my branch, two factions emerged with regard to how the August 2016 local government elections would be contested, which resulted in a certain amount of turmoil.
“I am, however, innocent and have not committed the crime of murder.”
He promised not to intimidate state witnesses.
“I don’t even know the identity of the state witnesses.
“It was clear that my branch was being dominated by the faction which supported Anton Mbatha as councillor in waiting.”
He noted that he did not even have a passport and has never traveled beyond KwaZulu-Natal.