Armed men hijacked the party’s branded sound vehicle and held staff members hostage.
DURBAN – The DA’s “battle bus” that is used to campaign in elections was attacked and burnt in Richmond in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday and its staff held hostage.
DA KZN leader Francois Rodgers said the party was shocked and saddened by the attack and destruction of its branded sound vehicle.
He said armed men had hijacked the vehicle and held staff members hostage.
“They proceeded with the vehicle and staff members under hostage into a deserted area where they further threatened to burn the vehicle and the members of the DA staff, who were forced to lie face down on the ground. This incident was extremely traumatic for the DA staff members involved,” he said.
The incident comes a week after an attack on another staff member in Durban.
“These criminals then proceeded to loot the vehicle and set it alight. Thankfully they allowed the staff members to flee the scene, with no injury or loss of life. The DA condemns in the strongest terms this type of barbaric behaviour and questions those involved and their motives behind the incident. A case with SAPS has been opened and we call on the law enforcement agency to immediately proceed with an investigation and bring those perpetrators to book,” Rodgers said.
It was unclear if the attack was politically motivated or criminal.
However, Rodgers added: “It cannot be that in a democratic society during a time of elections that any political party becomes the target of attack. The province of KwaZulu-Natal has a poor history of political intolerance. The DA calls on all political role-players to ensure that the election on November 1 is free and fair without any intimidation”.
The attack comes as political parties across the country ramp up their local government election campaigns, set to take place on November 1.
Richmond is Kwazulu-Natal has a bloody political history and was the epicentre of gruesome political faction fighting in the mid 90s.
Monday’s attack came just a day after members of the EFF and the ANC got into a scuffle at the Thandokuhle voting station at Willowfontein in Pietermaritzburg after unruly ANC members prevented EFF leader Julius Malema from accessing the venue.
Malema vowed to report the ANC members to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) for breaching the electoral rules, and said that the upcoming local government elections could not be certified free and fair if registered political parties were denied the right to visit stations to monitor the crucial democratic process of voter registration.