Councillor accused of assault

Maude Sifani and Funiwe Makeleni say they were assaulted by two men.
Maude Sifani and Funiwe Makeleni say they were assaulted by two men.
Image: Fredlin Adriaan

Just hours after his house and family were threatened, a Nelson Mandela Bay councillor allegedly went on the rampage, viciously attacking two women.

Cases of assault and another of pointing a firearm have been laid against Nelson Mandela Bay Ward 41 councillor Simphiwe Tyukana.

He denies the claims. The two women, Funiwe Makeleni, 55, and Maude Sifani, 57, allege that Tyukana attacked them without provocation.

Tyukana has vehemently denied the claim.

Makeleni said she had been inside her KwaDwesi Extension home when she heard tyres screeching outside. When she went to have a look, she saw a woman being chased by a silver Polo and a municipal vehicle.

“Initially I thought the municipal vehicle was chasing the Polo, but then when the Polo tried knocking her [Sifani] over I realised they were chasing her,” she said.

Makeleni said Sifani had run into her yard and Tyukana had jumped out of the car and slapped the woman.

Makeleni alleged that the councillor had turned on her when she asked why he was beating Sifani, who by that time was lying on the ground.

“I asked him why he was beating up this poor woman. He turned to me and started coming at me while shaking.

“He started choking me and squeezing my neck tighter and when he pointed his gun at me the man he was with told him they should leave,” Makeleni said.

Sifani said she had been on her way home after having gone to look for spinach when she noticed two cars coming towards her.

She thought they were going somewhere until they allegedly tried to knock her over.

“I jumped into Angelina’s [Makeleni’s] house trying to get away from these two men. Tyukana said I burnt his house. He slapped me and started kicking me. I fell to the ground and he started kicking me.”

On Thursday, Tyukana’s home was attacked after homes – illegally built on municipal land – were demolished in the Joe Slovo township.

Residents, angry about evictions and the demolished homes, threw stones at his windows and tried to burn down the house.

Tyukana’s wife, two children and a neighbour were inside the house at the time.

Residents claimed Tyukana had allowed people who had been waiting for houses for more than 25 years to live on the land and when municipal trucks demolished their shacks they turned on the councillor.

Sifani alleged that after kicking her and accusing her of being one of the people who had tried to burn down his home, Tyukana had hit her on the head with a gun.

Sifani denied being part of the attack on Tyukana’s home.

Both women were treated at Livingstone Hospital before opening cases at the KwaDwesi police station.

Tyukana said he was shocked by the allegations and denied even owning a gun.

“I don’t have a gun. I’ve never even owned a gun so I don’t know what these two women are talking about,” he said.

The councillor said when he got the news that his home and children were under attack he had rushed home, and when he saw the mob running from his house he had given chase.

“I wanted to see their faces, see who tried burning my house and there was one particular young man who ran into a house nearby and we chased after him.

“He ran into a house and locked himself in. We kicked down the back door and apprehended him. As we speak that guy is behind bars,” he said.

Tyukana denied punching or kicking the two women and said the only encounter he had had was kicking down the door, for which he has taken full responsibility.

“As soon as I realised the man was arrested, I went to my house to put out the fire that was started by angry residents,” he said.