WATCH: eThekwini City manager's bodyguards shield him in council after State witness report

2019-06-27 15:53
eThekwini Metro municipal manager Sipho Nzuza. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

eThekwini Metro municipal manager Sipho Nzuza. (Kaveel Singh, News24)

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A full eThekwini metro council meeting was delayed on Thursday, apparently after ANC councillors wanted City manager Sipho Nzuza to exit the meeting.

Moments before the meeting was meant to begin, an altercation ensued, DA councillor Nicole Graham told News24.

"Normally the speaker and the City manager walk in together and the councillors all rise. We were getting ready for council to start and... there was a bit of a skirmish going on between some ANC councillors and the City manager."

According to Graham, who posted a video of the incident on Twitter, the altercation became physical.

"They were pushing each other out the way. The City manager's bodyguards actually intervened and surrounded him to protect him from the ANC councillors."

She added: "It was quite dramatic. I managed to get the last bit on video. There was some pushing and shoving and it looked like it might get physical."

Graham said ANC supporters of ousted eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede asked Nzuza to leave.

"What we got from that is that they wanted the City manager to leave the meeting or recuse himself because he is [reportedly] a State witness against councillors Mondli Mthembu and Zandile Gumede."

The Mercury reported on Wednesday that Nzuza turned State witness and was set to spill the beans in the corruption case against suspended Gumede and her co-accused.

Graham said the ANC then caucused.

"When they came back, the City manager was here. We asked for an explanation but one wasn't given. I think it's clear that it is almost open warfare between supporters of Zandile Gumede and those who want her gone from this council."

When asked to comment, Nzuza said the incident was not directed at him.

"That involved the speaker of the council."

Speaker William Lekgoa Mapena said the incident was just "robust debate" between ANC councillors.

The provincial ANC forced Gumede to take 30 days of special leave after her arrest on charges of fraud and corruption related to a R208m Durban Solid Waste tender. She was later released on R50 000 bail.

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