Chairs flew and several people were injured when a small group of “hooligans and politically motivated individuals” disrupted the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) roadshow in Mabopane, north of Pretoria, while Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga was addressing the community.
The group brought the meeting to a halt and started clashing with members of the community who wanted to listen to Msimanga’s speech.
A source close to the mayor said since the City of Tshwane started its EPWP registration campaign, members from a group who call themselves the Business Forum, have been trying their best to disrupt the registration process.
In a video that has surfaced of the incident, the group starts fighting with the members of the community, throwing chairs and fight, kick and beat people.
The community members, with the help of the metro police, finally got the upper hand and forcefully threw the culprits out of the venue to continue their meeting.
According to the source, the group of people believe they are entitled to EPWP work opportunities to the preclusion of other residents of Tshwane.
The source said no one was arrested, but a few people were slightly injured.
The mayor was not injured in the incident. Despite their best efforts this past weekend and early this week, almost 56 300 people have registered for EPWP job opportunities, irrespective of misinformation, the source said.
After the disruptions, Msimanga said that the actions of the group were disappointing, but not unsurprising.
“The City of Tshwane will not stand aside while our most needy residents are being intimidated,” Msimanga said.
“We will take decisive action against individuals wishing to disrupt the registration process.” “Members of the metro police and the South African Police Service are now stationed at each of the registration venues and they will not hesitate to act,” the source said.
Mayoral spokesperson Samkelo Mgobozi said most of the 63 registration venues across all the regions of the city were flooded with potential beneficiaries who expressed a keen interest to join hands with the city to make Tshwane a better place to live in.
“The huge interest also indicated that the people support the EPWP system. “It is free of corruption and politicisation,” the source said.