Nelson Mandela Bay mayor Athol Trollip is taken aback by the level of intolerance he witnessed in council on Thursday‚ and says seven political parties have called for an investigation.
“I have never before witnessed scenes of extreme violence such as those meted out by ANC councillors at yesterday’s council sitting.
“Party representatives from the DA‚ UDM‚ ACDP‚ COPE‚ EFF‚ AIC and PA in the Nelson Mandela Bay Council have all come out in utter condemnation of the ANC’s horrific acts‚ and have urged the Speaker and Police to conduct thorough investigations so that those responsible are charged and prosecuted‚” he said on Friday.
It has been reported that the clashes happened after an African National Congress councillor‚ Xola Sabani‚ opened a council meeting which was meant to be presided over by Trollip. The fight was apparently sparked by intentions to discipline Sabani.
Member of the mayoral committee Rano Kayser (Democratic Alliance) and an ANC councillor Rosie Daaminds were injured during the scuffle.
ANC councillor and former ANC Youth League national leader Andile Lungisa accused the DA councillors of attacking them first.
Trollip accused the ANC of failure to accept that the DA is a leading party in council.
“In a constitutional democracy where voters choose their leaders through the ballot box‚ it is unfathomable that a single political party‚ the ANC‚ can reject the will of the electorate by attacking the very structures that‚ and the people who now govern our Metro‚” he said.
Trollip said the fight was triggered when two ANC councillors were asked to remove themselves from the chamber for repeatedly disrupting the meeting.
“The Speaker and the acting city manager asked security to escort them out. This resulted in the ANC caucus‚ one of whom was carrying a knife‚ forming a barrier between security and the two councillors in question‚ chanting “We will beat you! We will beat you!”
“Another two ANC councillors‚ serial offenders in the chamber‚ aggressively charged at the Speaker‚ whose podium is a sacrosanct and inviolate space. They picked up glass jugs and threatened to assault the Speaker‚ at which point a number of DA councillors‚ including MMC Rano Kayser‚ rushed to the Speaker’s defence.
“In the most horrific act of violence and criminality‚ one of the ANC councillors smashed the 2-kilogram glass jug over MMC Kayser’s head‚ inflicting a critical injury that required intervention from medical personnel and hospitalisation.”
ANC national spokesman Zizi Kodwa has condemned the violence.
He said urged councillors to engage in debates and not resort to violence.