According the MKMVA deputy president Taylor Nsimbini, the 60-year-old suspect, only known as Gazi, is a troublesome person who had resigned from the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) alleged ill-treatment.
“As the MKMVA, I can confirm that we know Comrade Gazi but we distance ourselves from his actions. How can he not talk things out instead of resorting to burning the very same offices where he needs help from,” asked Nsimbini.
He added that Gazi was trained in Uganda as a soldier before joining SANDF. “Gazi has been complaining that he’s being ill-treated in the SANDF. A few years ago he asked former premier David Mabuza to intervene politically.
“He also once said he wants to meet former president Jacob Zuma and recently when the president (Cyril Ramaphosa) was in the province he said he wanted to talk to him but he was unable to attend that event. He had many issues and complaints which he brought,” said Nsimbini.
Gazi allegedly stormed the ANC offices in Mbombela yesterday morning demanding to speak with the party’s leadership. When workers told him that leadership was not available, he allegedly took out a 2 litre bottle of petrol and doused its contents on employees and the office before setting it alight.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brig Selvy Mohlala said Gazi was arrested at his home in Masoyi outside Hazyview later.
“I can confirm that a 60-year-old man was arrested in Masoyi in connection with the torching of the ANC offices that took place on Thursday morning. It is alleged that the suspect came to the offices of the ANC in the morning alleging that his complaints were not attended to.
“He wanted to speak to the liaison officer. Unfortunately, the officer was not available at that time. Then he became furious and reportedly took out 2 litre bottle filled with petrol from his bag. He then started to pour petrol over the employees that were present as well as over the offices and set them alight then walked away,” said Mohlala.
The offices accommodate other party structures which include the ANC Women’s League and ANC Youth League.
Sowetan visited the building after the fire was put out. Two offices inside were almost completely burnt with the items charred office equipment such as tables, chairs and cupboard including photos of the party’s leaders. The kitchen, which Gazi used to gain entry, was also destroyed by the fire.
No workers were injured.
Mpumalanga ANC spokesperson Sasekani Manzini said at this stage they did suspect that the fire had anything to do with the party’s factional clashes in that province.
There have been reported clashes between ANC members in Mpumalanga dating back to 2017 when Mabuza was elected to be an NEC member of the ruling party and also became the deputy president of the country.
Since then there have been camps and factions who fought over the party’s leadership positions in Mpumalanga. This escalated to violence which would occur at party meetings where in some cases a number of people were killed while others were injured.
The provincial conference to replace Mabuza as chairperson hasn’t sat since 2018 owing to the violence and Covid-19 — 19 which prohibited gatherings.