Ward councillor “assaulted” at meeting

2018-05-24 06:00

THERE was an exchange of words and racial remarks were allegedly made against ward 58 councillor Geoff Pullan during a ward committee meeting held in Canelands on May 9.

It is alleged that the ward committee secretary of the ANC Ziphozonke Mpungose assaulted Pullan in view of other people at the meeting during a dispute over an attendance register.

According to Pullan, Mpungose made racial remarks about not willing to work with white people.

“He told me that he hates white [people] and he doesn’t want to work with them. We had an altercation. As I stood up, he bashed me against the window. I fell down. He hates me because I am the ward councillor of the opposition party [DA]. I reported the matter to the eThekwini speaker and explained that I will not be able to work with a person like him [Mpungose],” Pullan said.

According to witnesses present at the meeting, there is brewing tension between the members of the ward committee and Pullan which started after the committee was elected last year.

According to Pullan the DA won the ward after it received more than 5200 votes in the elections, while the ANC only received approximately 4900 votes.

“The committee members are all members of the ANC. Whenever I call a meeting, I am outnumbered because I am not an ANC member. I wrote to the speaker and said I am not holding any meetings in the area because I am not safe. How can I work with people like these?” Pullan added.

When the Weekly contacted Mpungose for a comment he denied that he had assaulted Pullan.

“I asked the people in the meeting to sign a register. When it was Pullan’s turn to sign, he put it in his file and refused to give it back. I asked him to return it, he refused.

“We struggled over the file, and when I let it go of it, he fell and accidentally hit his head on a window. Then there was an exchange of words and I ended up making racial remarks. I did not hit him,” Mpungose said.

Mpungose said Pullan does not respect the leadership of the ward committee.

He added: “He wants to dissolve the committee, and we will not allow that to happen. We complained to the office of the speaker and the mayor [Zandile Gumede]. Our committee was elected last year and it has never been introduced to the community.”

eThekwini Municipality speaker William Mapena said: “The office of the speaker is in receipt of a letter from councillor Geoff Pullan reporting the alleged assault by a ward committee member.”

Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Ngwala said: “We confirm a case of assault common is being investigated by Verulam SAPS after the victim was assaulted at a meeting. Investigations are still continuing,” Gwala said.

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