Mayor carried a gun during the violent Limpopo political turf war

The executive mayor of Polokwane, John Mpe. Picture: Supplied

The executive mayor of Polokwane, John Mpe. Picture: Supplied

Published May 23, 2024


Polokwane mayor and ANC Peter Mokaba regional chairperson John Mpe has been implicated in the violent Juju Valley political turf war that took place in the Limpopo township on Sunday.

In videos that were trending on social media on Monday, armed groups were seen engaged in a violent confrontation with the ANC during door-to-door election campaigning.

Two groups exchanged fire while some were seen throwing stones at each other.

The one group was wearing ANC T-shirts while the other was in EFF uniform during the turf war that resulted in a 9-year-old girl fighting for her life in hospital after sustaining gunshot wounds, while 11 more were injured after being caught in the crossfire.

In another video that recently surfaced on social media, it shows Mpe walking in between his two bodyguards, within a crowd of people carrying stones, in what seemed to be a face-off with an EFF group.

When a series of gunshots was heard, one of Mpe’s bodyguards grabbed his firearm from the holster while the other held Mpe by his arm.

The two tried to whisk him into a nearby yard to escape the gunfire. However, the video clearly shows Mpe drawing his own gun and wielding it in the public eye.

Mpe’s phone rang unanswered when The Star phoned him this week.

ANC provincial spokesperson Jimmy Machaka referred The Star to their statement after the party held a press conference on Monday.

He said: “The ANC has pronounced itself on the media statement.”

The statement read in part: “The campaign was aimed at engaging with the community and addressing their concerns as well as mobilising support for the ANC in the upcoming elections.

“Unfortunately, the EFF in the area mobilised a group of their members and criminals who were armed with guns and live ammunition, with the intention of preventing and disrupting the ANC’s elections campaign.

“These armed members and criminals attacked the ANC volunteers led by the regional leadership of the ANC in Peter Mokaba, resulting in 12 people sustaining injuries from gunshots and sharp objects.

“The ANC condemns this act of violence and intimidation in the strongest terms, and calls for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. In addition to the physical injuries, this incident has also caused significant emotional distress to the ANC volunteers, who were simply exercising their democratic right to engage with the community.”

Juju Valley, mostly occupied by EFF supporters, is named after the party’s president Julius Malema, who several years ago encouraged his members to grab the land and build shacks.

The Star

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