TWO men petrol bombed the offices of the ANC in Mopani, Limpopo, on Wednesday night, police said.
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe said the arson was preceded by scuffles between the arsonists and security guards on the scene.
They suspects, he said, had earlier tried but failed to petrol bomb the Tzaneen-based offices from a distance but failed as the building did not catch fire.
“When the suspects noticed that their petrol bomb mission did not work, they then went closer to the building then the security guards saw them and tried to stop them. A fight ensued from that point on. When the security guards called for backup, the two men managed to escape,” said Colonel Moatshe.
He said the motive for the attack was unknown.
Investigations are still underway to establish the motive and identify those responsible, Colonel Ngoepe said.
He appealed to members of the public to assist with information that might lead to the arrest of the suspects.
The offices were targeted as the 5th ANC national policy conference was taking place at Nasrec in Johannesburg this week.
It comes as ANC factions’ battle for the soul of the party at a regional conference scheduled to take place over the next few weeks.
Tensions are high in the region between supporters of regional chairperson and Economic Development MEC Seaparo Sekoati and his rival, regional secretary Bisikopo Makamu.
Ba-Phalaborwa Mayor Pule Shayi, a Makamu ally, is challenging Sekoati for the top job in the region.
The conference was postponed twice since December due to violent attacks, gate-keeping and allegations of membership fraud levelled against Makamu.
Late last year, three ANC members were hospitalised after being attacked with pangas at a branch general meeting in Giyani.
The conference is expected to take place as soon as ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe gives it the thumps up.
Ngoepe said he could not confirm if the attack was linked to the upcoming regional conference.
On Thursday, Makamu said he was aware of the petrol bomb incident, but he refused to comment further until he personally inspected the offices.
He said he was on his way back to Tzaneen from the ANC Policy Conference.
“I heard about the incident, but I can’t comment as I have not yet seen the offices,” he said.
The Mopani office arson attack is the latest in a series of similar incidents involving government or political party buildings.
Last week, the offices of the premiers of Gauteng and Eastern Cape – David Makhura and Phumulo Masualle respectively – caught fire.
An electrical fault was blamed for the fire at Makhura’s office while the cause of the arson at Masualle’s remains unknown.