ANC’s Soobiah drops ‘insult’charge against DA’s Bill Lambert

2013-05-30 00:00

MSUNDUZI councillor Rachel Soobiah has dropped a crimen injuria charge she brought against fellow councillor and Democratic Alliance caucus leader Bill Lambert.

Soobiah yesterday confirmed she had dropped the case against Lambert, whom she had accused of insulting her. She said she took Exco member Manilall Inderjith’s advice to re-consider her action for the sake of reconciliation.

“Councillor Manilall mentioned that at the end of the day we were colleagues and as councillors we would see each other often and there was a need to have a working relationship for the sake of service delivery to the city,” Soobiah said.

She added that she thought about what he said and realised that although she and Lambert came from different parties, they served the same community.

“I hope that this will serve as a lesson for councillors that differences between councillors can be resolved.

“As elections draw near there are going to be more misunderstandings and I decided to withdraw the charges as I want us to go forward to next year’s election with clean hands,” Soobiah said.

The charge against Lambert, which was opened at Mountain Rise police station, arose from a dispute between the ANC and the DA on Saturday, April 7, over the booking of the Northdale Civic Centre.

Each party laid claim to having been the first to have booked the hall to help applicants who were filling in forms to qualify for assistance under council’s indigent policy.

Soobiah claimed at the time that Lambert walked into the hall and spoke to her angrily about the ANC’s use of the hall. He allegedly accused Soobiah of having caused the confusion and in the heated exchange called her “stupid”.

When contacted yesterday, Lambert said he was not at all surprised that the charge had been withdrawn. He believed there was never a case in the first place.

He said Soobiah had contacted him and he had asked to be given written confirmation that the charge had been withdrawn. He added that she had made “a very wise decision”.

Inderjith said he played a mediatory role because it was important for councillors to work together for the sake of the municipality and the city.

NFP councillor Ntokozo Bhengu said he was glad the incident was over. “I’ve known Bill Lambert since 2000 … I know him as a man of integrity who respects his position and would not have abused it,” he said.

IFP councillor Dolo Zondi also welcomed the dropping of the charge. He said Lambert could speak loudly when making a point, but he was not the sort of person who would deliberately insult another person.

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