A gunshot and broken glass at Bay meeting

2016-10-30 06:07
Athol Trollip.

Athol Trollip.

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Has the ANC totally lost its way by resorting to “acts of violence, intimidation and thuggery” at a Nelson Mandela Bay council meeting?

This is one of several questions raised this week following a scuffle between the governing DA and the opposition ANC at a closed council meeting on Thursday, during which a municipal security member allegedly discharged a firearm to restore order.

The historic event, which has seen the metro council become the first in the country where shots were fired inside its chambers during a meeting, has shocked residents and drawn harsh criticism on social-media platforms.

“The bone of contention was the manner in which the Integrated Development Plan [IDP] public participation process had been followed by the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality three weeks ago,” said former deputy mayor Bicks Ndoni.

“The fracas in the council was because of an IDP meeting that was held at Nangoza Jebe Hall three weeks ago, where the DA accused councillor Xola Sabani of hijacking the meeting.

"It is the view of the ANC that the dispute or disagreement between the ANC and the DA councillor at the IDP meeting was an issue between two parties that ought to have been resolved through the chief whips’ offices and not at the council meeting as the DA sought incorrectly to do.”

Ndoni said when the DA attempted to deal with the purported disciplinary and suspension of Sabani during the sitting of council, councillors of the ANC objected.

“It is at this stage that the DA speaker called in security to forcefully remove the ANC councillor, to which the ANC once more objected,” he said.

Then two ANC councillors, Andile Lungisa and Makhi Feni, aggressively charged at the speaker.

They picked up glass jugs and threatened to assault the speaker, at which point a number of DA councillors, including member of the mayoral committee, Rano Kayser, rushed to the speaker’s defence.

An ANC councillor smashed a 2kg glass jug on Kayser’s head, inflicting a critical injury that “required intervention from medical personnel and resulted in hospitalisation”, according to Athol Trollip, executive mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay.

He called the chaos thuggery, hooliganism and ill-discipline.

It led to three councillors being hospitalised owing to injuries.

“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 and the people who now govern our metro,” said Trollip.

“Party representatives from the DA, United Democratic Movement, African Christian Democratic Party, Congress of the People, Economic Freedom Fighters, African Independent Congress and Patriotic Alliance in the council have all come out in utter condemnation of the ANC’s horrific acts, and have urged that those responsible be charged and prosecuted,” he said.

Lungisa has vowed to fight back even more in future.

“We are not cowards and we will fight back if they keep pushing us,” said a defiant Lungisa.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  athol trollip  |  nelson mandela bay

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