Soobiah opens ‘insult’ case

2013-04-08 00:00

MSUNDUZI ANC councillor Rachel Soobiah has laid a charge of crimen injuria against fellow councillor Bill Lambert of the Democratic Alliance.

The move came on Saturday after a dispute had arisen between the parties over the booking of the Northdale Civic Centre. Each party laid claim to having been first to book the hall to help applicants complete forms to qualify for the municipality’s indigent status.

On Saturday the ANC was inside the hall and the DA outside. Soobiah claimed that Lambert walked into the hall and spoke to her angrily about the ANC using the hall. He allegedly accused Soobiah of having caused the confusion and in the heated exchange called her “stupid”.

Soobiah confirmed that she had opened a case of intimidation with the police. She said the confrontation with an angry, red-faced Lambert had left her shaken.

She said she would be writing letters of complaint, citing the councillors’ code of conduct, to the speaker of the Msunduzi Municipality and to DA party leaders.

Lambert was adamant that he had done nothing wrong and said he had gone inside the hall at Mayor Chris Ndlela’s bidding.

“The mayor came and saw us camped outside and as he was on his way to a function, he asked me to go inside and approach the ANC to find out if we could share the hall. After all, we were all doing the same service for the people, helping them fill in the forms for indigent status.”

Lambert said Soobiah refused.

He said he knew nothing about being charged.

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan confirmed that Soobiah had opened a case of crimen injuria against Lambert at the Mountain Rise police station.

Jeevan said the dispute between the two parties had led to an argument. After the case has been investigated it would be sent to the senior public prosecutor for a decision on whether to prosecute.

Meanwhile, the mayor has called on all his councillors to act with restraint, saying that as the country moved closer to next year’s election, it was important for councillors to act responsibly.

Ndlela said he had urged Lambert to send the applicants waiting in line at the DA’s tents inside the hall, where they would be more comfortable.

“It would be irresponsible for me to say the parties must share the hall when the ANC had already booked it,” he said.

Ndlela said it didn’t matter which party had helped fill in the forms, because this was a service to the community.

He added that the complaint was with the police and the council could therefore not interfere.

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