Death threats on councillors investigated

2017-08-02 06:00

THE Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, has said that the DA and its councillors will not be intimidated.

This after two senior DA councillors, chief whip Werner Senekal and mayoral committee member Rano Kayser, received verified death threats via SMS.

The mayor said, “We want to put it on record that we’re not going to take the threats lightly and that we are going to do everything in our power to get to the bottom of this.

“We took a decision to make a public statement about this because what we really want to achieve is to bring the conspirators to book as soon as possible,” he said.

He added that the threats could potentially be linked to the cases that were opened by Senekal and Kayser against ANC councillors, Andile Lungisa and Gamalihleli Maqula, after they were assaulted during a violent brawl during a council meeting in October last year.

It is alleged that Maqula stabbed Senekal in the back with a sharp object, while Lungisa apparently hit Kayser with a glass jug over his head.

The mayor said he had written to the Eastern Cape Premier and the MEC for Safety and Security informing them of the situation, particularly in the light of the murder of the Raymond Mhlaba Municipality speaker, ANC councillor, Thozama Njobe, who was gunned down for reportedly standing in the way of corruption.

“When the speaker from Nkonkobe was threatened, she told the secretary of the ANC about the threats and about a week later she was killed.

“So, I want to put it on record that there are now two more councillors and in a constitutional democracy it is untenable to have to deal with this kind of stuff.”

Speaking to Express, Trollip said he could not divulge too much while the police investigation was continuing, however, he said that “the information is that there are people who have been sent to carry out the execution of the two councillors”.

Trollip also confirmed that security had been tightened around the mayoral committee members.

“There are precautions that have been put into place, both the councillors have got security details attached to them to monitor their security.

“I fully regret that my colleagues have been put into such vulnerable positions. It’s not easy to continue working after receiving death threats,” Trollip said.

ANC spokesperson Gift Nqondi said the party rejects the DA’s insinuations regarding the death threats.

“The DA Coalition must stop these reckless statements of insinuating that our Councillors are involved in these so-called death threats without any tangible evidence.

“We have condemned the council fracas that took place last year and for the DA to cite that incident as the motive for the threats is irresponsible and childish,” Nqondi said.

He added that violent conduct or death threats had no place in democracy.

The SAPS spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, said that police “have opened an inquiry and the matter is being investigated”.

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