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'ANC intimidated Bekkersdal residents'

The party's door-to-door campaign was disrupted by a violent protest yesterday.

FILE: A woman walks across burnt tyres, rocks and sewage spill in Bekkersdal during service delivery protests in October 2013. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Bekkersdal residents have accused the African National Congress (ANC) of threatening the community with firearms and blackmailing them into voting for the party in the upcoming general elections.

Pictures taken yesterday in Bekkersdal have emerged showing a marshal dressed in ANC regalia holding a firearm behind his back.

The party's door-to-door election campaign on Thursday was disrupted by a violent protest.

Angry residents took to the streets barricading roads with burning tyres, rocks and rubble.

School pupils, who were still dressed in their uniforms, were apparently at the forefront of the protests, having been forced out of their classrooms to participate.

Six people were arrested for public violence.

Residents say the crowd became angry when the police told the community Premier Nomvula Mokonyane would be visiting the area with hundreds of councillors.

Mokonyane visited the area last year when residents were protesting for weeks against poor service delivery.

She then reportedly said the ANC doesn't need their "dirty votes".

Mokonyane has since apologised to the residents but community representative Thabang Wesi says they want a proper apology from the ANC.

"The ANC tried to forcefully come to the township. They had guns and were shooting randomly."

Wesi says in a democracy, no one can be forced to vote for a particular party out of fear.

Meanwhile, the ANC says it's not aware of any person dressed in ANC colours carrying a gun in the area yesterday.

But the ANC's Nkenke Kekana says they condemn this behaviour.

"If it is one of our members, we will really investigate the matter and take the necessary action."

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