WATCH - Violence erupts in Mogale city council chambers

2017-09-01 18:53

Johannesburg - Mogale City mayor Patrick Lipudi has blamed the EFF for the violent chaos that erupted on Wednesday during a council meeting, leading to council property being damaged and several people injured.

A full fist fight erupted in the public gallery, and sources said the violence escalated when when council security was brought in to force the members of the public out of the council chambers in Krugersdorp.

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"We don't want violence…but this is the behaviour of the EFF, they engage in violence, threatening people. They are not interested in doing things in a civilised manner,” Lipudi told News24.

However the EFF has distanced itself from the people who were in the gallery despite them wearing red overalls. EFF chief Whip Smanga Mthombeni said they can’t "account for them".

"A person can wear red overalls, but it does not mean they are EFF members in good standing, those clothes are sold in [the] streets, they can be bought by anyone," Mthombeni told News 24. 

'Betraying the party'

Those who attended the council meeting said the violent chaos was sparked by people in the gallery dressed in EFF regalia, demanding that six EFF councillors who supported the ANC budget sit with the ANC instead of being seated next to other EFF councillors who boycotted the budget vote in July.  

In a video sent to News24, people can be heard from the gallery shouting "Six must go".

The six are facing a disciplinary inquiry for helping pass the budget. EFF leader Julius Malema said they would be punished, as supporting the ANC was "supporting corruption".

However, those who attended said that Mthombeni said during the council meeting that not all members were EFF members.

He claimed some, though dressed in EFF regalia, were brought in by the DA.  However, DA denied the claim and another EFF councillor insisted they were brought by the EFF. 

Mthombeni continued to blame the DA for the violence when News24 spoke to him on Friday.

Lipudi told News24 that there were two EFF factions in the gallery - with one group supporting the EFF six and another accusing them of "betraying the party".

He said a "big" fist fight ensued, despite the speaker's attempts to call them to order. She eventually called security when fighting erupted.

'Knives and guns'

In the video, people in the gallery are seen punching and kicking each other, some are not wearing the EFF traditional red overalls.

Lipudi said they are now assessing the cost of damage to council property when furniture, water, and paper ''missiles'' were thrown downstairs.

"One broke the chair and threw it at councillors downstairs, but luckily it did not hit anybody. He tried to take another chair but the security stopped him in time. The door to the chambers was also damaged when the security forced the people out," Lipudi said. 

He said security would also be beefed up.

It is understood the fighting continued outside of the chambers.  An EFF supporter, identifying herself as Kholeka Madlomo Mandyu, wrote on Facebook that she was beaten up by men with "knives and guns".

Mogale City has undergone a tumultuous period after the 2016 elections. It has had three mayors, two DA and now ANC. Malema said in July, that the best way out for the city was to collapse the council and force fresh elections. 

However Lipudi disagreed.  

"There is no ground or substance for early elections. Since the ANC took over, service delivery is happening. We have also criss-crossed the municipality to reignite the citizens' confidence in the government," Lupidi said.

Lipudi is the third mayor for Mogale City since the August 2016 local government elections.  The municipality has struggled with party politics after a DA mayor was selected in August, alongside an ANC speaker and ANC chief council.

Then the ANC defeated the DA coalition when some DA members voted with the ANC, leading to the party using lie detector tests to find the culprits.

Read more on:    eff  |  johannesburg

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