The ANC is fundamentally fractured along a number of different fault lines. Often the political tectonic plates shift and the party’s members moved from mere disagreement to actual physical violence. At its worst people have died, murdered or assassinated. On a more regular basis, though, ANC members have resorted to assaulting each other.

Here is a range of examples of how the party has turned in on itself over the past few years and the bloody consequences.

 ANC’s top 20 violent fights.


Date: April 2012.
Province: Free State.
Faction: Sam Matiase versus Ace Magashule.
The Facts: A meeting of the ANC’s Silver City branch disintegrated into violence when the two factions argued about membership and disgruntled members stormed the meeting. Shots were fired in the air, allegedly by Magashule’s bodyguards, although police were called in and might also have done so. Pepper spray was used.


Date: December 2011.
Province: Eastern Cape.
Faction: ANC Ward 11 versus itself.
The Facts: During a general branch meeting of Ward 11, one of several ANC branches in the Eastern Cape with ‘parallel structures’, the two factions came to blows over which delegates should attend the party’s provincial council, ahead of the Mangaung elective conference. Fists flew, gunshots were fired, people were stoned, stabbed and hit with sticks. The physical confrontation manifested when members, not wanting to produce membership forms until inside the hall, grabbed a bunch of forms and assaulted the female electoral officer with their fists.

Date: July 2012.
Province: Gauteng.
Faction: The ANC versus the ANC.
The Facts: It seems appropriate to end off with a physical fight at one of the ANC’s biggest national meetings, its policy conference, held in Midrand. As widely reported, several North West delegates came to blows during the plenary, with one member being expelled. What the precise cause of the argument was is contested, some say nationalization, others which delegates represented the province at the conference.


Date: April 2011.
Province: Eastern Cape.
Faction: Ntsikelelo Mahlasela versus Thenjiwe Mankahlana.
The Facts: An election list meeting turned ugly when two factions, each disputing the number one candidate for Mdantsane Ward 30, resorted to physical violence. Supposedly the winning candidate had already been decided, but then Mankahlana was announced as the winning candidate. Supporters then exchanged blows. A member of legislature had to be taken away by bodyguards. Other members were left bloodied on the floor. A Buffalo City council mayoral committee member was beaten and bruised.


Date: April 2011.
Province: Eastern Cape.
Faction: The ANC versus Jacob Zuma versus Nceba Faku.
The Facts: After Jacob Zuma failed to appear for an visit to Govan Mbeki township, ANC supporters, angry with ANC regional chairperson Nceba Faku, blocked the road and started pelting motorists with stones, and had to be dispersed by police who fired rubber bullets and used stun grenades.

Date: May 2012.
Province: North West.
Faction: ANC North West versus itself.
The Facts: An ANC North West regional general council broke down after a motion of no confidence in regional secretary Obuti Chika was proposed. One faction then proceeded to hurl stones and even point guns at other members. Several members had to flee the scene, including Tlokwe Council speaker, Barei Segotso. Police and paramedics were called in and the meeting continued after the disruption had ended, under police supervision. One member was charged with assault and appeared in court on various charges including an intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.


Date: October 2011.
Province: KwaZulu-Natal.
Faction: ANCYL versus the ANC.
The Facts: An ANCYL meeting to discuss the disbanding of the KZN leadership was stormed by disgruntled ANCYL members. Some 200 people forced themselves into the building, up to the 21st floor stairwell where they started to toyi-toyi. Security guards sprayed teargas (there were no windows in the passageway) and a stampede to evacuate was just avoided as people fell and ran.


Date: March 2011.
Province: KwaZulu-Natal.
Faction: ANC KwaQanda vesus the ANC regional executive committee.
The Facts: At an ANC meeting to explain the ANC’s nominated candidate for Ward 6, Agnes Mkhize, ANC provincial executive committee member Lydia Johnson had to flee when the candidate was rejected and accused of being imposed on the community, ahead of their choice, and a relative of KZN premier Zweli Mkhize. Chairs were thrown and tyres burnt. Johnson was escorted to her car which was banged and kicked as it pulled away. Journalists were manhandled.

Date: January 2011.
Province: Northern Cape.
Faction: ANC Peter May ward versus ANC provincial executive committee.
The Facts: A branch general meeting disintegrated after ward members rejected the nominated candidate arguing the person had been forced upon them. Some members walked out and, before the election could take place, chairs were thrown. Some members pulled out knives and threatened others. Angry members then went outside, blockaded a road and set tyres on fire. Later, a riot broke out and police were called in.

Date: September 2010.
Province: Western Cape.
Faction: ANC Ward 95 branch versus itself.
The Facts: A meeting to elect a new branch leadership became violent when one group of ANC youth, allegedly at the behest of an ANC youth leader, tried to force their way into the meeting after it was announced a quorum had not been reached. Knives, rocks, chairs and a hammer were used as weapons. The fighting lasted an hour. Several people were stabbed and many injured.


Date: July 2010.
Province: Eastern Cape.
Faction: ANC Alfred Nzo versus the ANC provincial executive committee.
The Facts: A PEC delegation, sent to the region to explain the decision to disband three regions was met with violence. They were pelted with stones and sprayed with water. Police were called onto the scene and they also came under attack. Property was damaged in the ensuing fight.


Date: June 2010.
Province: Eastern Cape.
Faction: Butterworth regional versus local leadership.
The Facts: Both leaderships met at a local ANC meeting but each faction refused to recognise the other’s authority. The meeting turned bloody when there was disagreement over the chairman presiding. Chairs were thrown and used to assault members and a regional executive committee member and regional secretary were forced to flee.


Date: April 2012.
Province: Free State.
Faction: Ace Magashule versus Mxolisi Dukwana.
The Facts: An ANC meeting of its Thaba Nchu’s Kopano ke Matla branch ended up in bloody violence when a faction forced their way into the meeting demanding it be suspended as, they alleged, it had not been convened in line with party rules. At this point things became violent. Amidst the fighting one ANC member was stabbed in the chest and had to taken to hospital. The meeting was abandoned.

Date: August 2009.
Province: Eastern Cape.
Faction: Bambezakhe Goya versus William Ngozi 1.
The Facts: This rivalry features more than once on this list. Both members and the factions they represent have warred over the mayoralty of the Ingquza Hill municipality. On this occasion, at a council meeting, Goya, elected to replace Ngozi as mayor, dared to sit in the mayoral chair. Who threw the first punch is disputed but blows were exchanged, chairs thrown, knives were drawn and people stabbed. Several councilors were crushed by a stampede to exit. A gun was allegedly drawn. Goya later claimed Ngozi hit him over the head with a chair. He sustained a stab wound in this thigh requiring eight stitches. It was alleged the Speaker, Ms Busisiwe Nkani, threw the first punch. She sustained a black eye.

Date: July 2009.
Province: North West.
Faction: ANC North West provincial executive committee versus ANC national executive committee.
The Facts: In attempting to explain the NEC’s decision to disband the North West ANC provincial executive committee NEC members Nathi Mthethwa, Thaba Mufumadi and Lumka Yengeni had to abandon the meeting when chairs were hurled at them. Police were called in and rubber bullets were fired. Ironically, the provincial executive was being disbanded because a faction had taken control of it.

Date: July 2008.
Province: Northern Cape.
Faction: Neville Mompati versus John Block.
The Facts: An ANC general meeting of its Batho Pele branch devolved into violence when supporters of each faction came to blows about the attendance register. A group of Block supporters allegedly forced their way in, assaulting and manhandling members.


Date: July 2008.
Province: North West.
Faction: the ANC North West versus Supra Mahumpelo.
The Facts: Mahumpelo served 18 party members with letters of suspension, among them ANCYL member Kenny Morolong, who then proceeded to allegedly beat ANC sub-regional secretary Aaron Motswana and party member Sipho Phaziwe with a spanner. ANCYL members then torched the ANC regional offices, later to appear in court on charges of attempted murder, attempts to commit grievous bodily harm and malicious damage to property.