In a first case of its kind, the ANC is being sued for R65.1m by the family of one of its members who was fatally assaulted at a chaotic Mpumalanga branch general meeting a year ago. Prince Manzini (45) died from injuries sustained during an assault at a meeting in ward 22 in Gutshwa near Mbombela. City Press describes it as a landmark civil claim against the ANC, whose image has been battered by incidents of violence during branch general meetings ahead of elective conferences in recent years. But ANC members are not known for suing the governing party for deaths and injuries, notes the report.

Manzini was accosted outside of the hall by a mob who severely assaulted him as he was trying to flee. He died before he could be rushed to hospital. Another ANC member was stabbed in the head during the mêlée but survived. This breach of security was blamed on one of the factions that was accused of bringing bogus branch members to inflate their numbers and sway the nomination process in their favour. In court documents, filed by Manzini’s widow, Silindile Hlatshwayo (41), and his stepson, Benjamin Hlatshwayo (24), in the Gauteng High Court, Hlatshwayo is also claiming damages for his two children, aged 16 and 10, notes City Press. According to the documents, the unemployed widow is claiming R10m for loss of financial support. The claim for a further R40m is for her two children, R10m for shock, trauma, and grief, and R100 000 for funeral costs. Manzini’s stepson is claiming R5m for loss of financial support.

Their lawyer, Thomas Sibuyi of Mabuza Attorneys, said in the court papers that Manzini suffered injuries to his internal organs and his brain during the assault. ‘The ANC members or unknown people who were in the aforesaid meeting were acting in the course and scope of their membership or association with the ANC in that they were in a properly and constitutionally convened branch general meeting sanctioned by the provincial, regional and branch leadership and, by extension, the national leadership of the defendant (ANC) vis-à-vis the constitution of the defendant,’ Sibuyi said. Acting Mpumalanga ANC chairperson Mandla Ndlovu said the governing party sympathised with Manzini’s family for their loss of a husband and father but would defend the claim. He said this was because the party could not take responsibility for actions of rogue individual members.

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