Midvaal mayor, man arrested over counter assault claims

Midvaal mayor Bongani Baloyi and an ANC member were arrested on Saturday morning after they laid charges of assault against each other, for violence that broke out an Arbor Day event in Savannah City.

After opening cases of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at the De Deur police station, the men were eventually released on R500 bail each.

Solly Msimanga, the DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, said the municipality's Arbor Day launch had started peacefully but was soon disrupted by ANC members in Ward 11, Savannah City.

"... When the Mayor was about to go to the podium to address the community, ANC members approached him and tried to take the microphone away from him. They physically pushed the Mayor and hit him with a rock," said Msimanga.

He said that when Baloyi went to open a case at the police station, "the key suspect followed him and lied to the police that the Mayor attacked him. Absurdly, the Mayor was also placed under arrest along with the suspect."

ANC Sedibeng spokesperson Boniface Mazilazila claimed Baloyi had assaulted a resident "for raising issues of service delivery in a public meeting".

He said the event turned sour because residents rejected the "political nature" of the event.

"The ANC will always remain on the side of the people and do all in its power to defend the defenceless."

He confirmed that the man who was arrested is a member of the ANC in good standing.

The men were expected to appear in the Vereeniging Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Msimanga said an attack on the mayor was an attack on the residents of Midvaal and democracy.

"The failed ANC has become desperate and its members are resorting to thuggery and other subversive behaviour in an attempt to retain power," he claimed.

"Midvaal is one of the best governed municipalities in Gauteng and has received clean audits since DA took over this municipality from the ANC."

Charity Moyo, Msimanga's spokesperson, said they would be approaching Gauteng Police Commissioner Deliwe de Lange over the way that Baloyi was treated.

Gauteng police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, was not immediately available to comment.

An earlier version of this story quoted the ANCYL as stating that the man who was arrested was not a member of the ANC. The ANC in Sedibeng has since confirmed he is a member.

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