Four EFF delegates pepper sprayed at conference discharged from hospital

A South African Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party supporter raises a party flag and cheers during an election campaign rally in Umlazi, south of Durban, South Africa, on April 27, 2014. South Africans are going to the polls for a general election on May 7, 2014. AFP PHOTO / RAJESH JANTILAL / AFP / RAJESH JANTILAL
Four women delegates who were taken to hospital after being pepper sprayed at the Economic Freedom Fighters’ elective conference in Johannesburg just before midnight on Saturday have been discharged from hospital.

An altercation broke out after delegates had a confrontation in the dining hall with the EFF paramilitary security unit, popularly known as the “defenders of the revolution (DOR)”, an African News Agency (ANA) correspondent reported on Sunday.

One of the delegates, who declined to be named, said things got tense after people in the food line became rowdy and were soon afterwards pepper sprayed by security personnel.

“They always terrorise us at events. Can you imagine being attacked for food. We were literally standing in the line and people [were] pushing; next thing they started spraying us with pepper spray and, mind you, some of the people who were attacked are pregnant and asthmatic,” the woman said.

EFF spokesman Mbuyiseni Ndlozi told journalists that “the perpetrator” was a man whose face was always covered with a balaclava, but was known to the EFF as “the general”. He added that the man in question had since been fired.

“Their explanation is that he wasn’t pepper spraying people. It was an accident, it fell on the floor and exploded, but we don’t believe him. We took them [the women] to Baragwanth [hospital] because it was asthmatic people and some are pregnant. By 6am they were back at their accommodation. Everything is under control,” said Ndlozi.

African News Agency