- The removal of a municipal official from the Amathole District Municipality's offices has sparked outrage.
- Nanziwe Rulashe was dragged from her office on Monday, allegedly by armed security guards, and was injured in the process.
- Mayor Nceba Ndikinda has vowed to investigate the incident.
Amathole District Municipality Mayor Nceba Ndikinda has asked for an investigation into allegations that a councillor was assaulted at municipal offices in East London on Monday.
Videos are circulating on social media of mayco member Nanziwe Rulashe being dragged from her office.
Rulashe said the alleged assault stemmed from a disagreement with a municipal official during a strategic meeting.
The woman was accompanied by armed men who dragged her from her office, injuring her in the process, she alleged.
It is alleged that the instruction to have Rulashe removed was issued by municipal manager Thembekile Mnyimba.
When asked for a response to the allegation, Mnyimba referred News24 to a statement which the municipality released.
In it, the municipality distanced itself from the alleged assault and said: "It is very sad to view and read about the alleged incident that took place in ADM head offices yesterday. [The] Amathole District Municipality council, including the executive management, distances itself from disturbing scenes circulating on social media platforms with the contempt it deserves. This matter will be fully investigated and as the executive mayor, I will act accordingly."
Amathole DM Distances itself from an alleged assault of its female councillor 25 January 2022It is very sad to view and read about the alleged incident that took place in ADM Head Offices yesterday. ADM Council including the executive management distances itself from…— Amathole District EC (@Amathole_DM) January 25, 2022
Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said Cambridge police were investigating a case of assault, malicious damage to property and intimidation, and added that five people, aged 23 to 43, were arrested on Monday.
They were released on R500 bail each and are expected to appear in the East London Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
"The circumstances surrounding the incident are not clear at this stage. The investigation continues," Kinana added.
ANC regional secretary Thembalethu Ntutu called on the mayor to issue a report to the ANC.
The ANC in the Eastern Cape strongly condemned the "abhorrent and vicious attack".
"This behaviour is unacceptable. Seeing a public representative being dragged out of office by security officials on the alleged instructions from a municipal manager and [head of department] can never be tolerated," said provincial secretary Lulama Ngcukayitobi.
"We call for decisive action against all those involved in this abhorrent display of gender-based violence and [for them to] be brought to book. We further call on [the] MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) to urgently investigate this despicable and distasteful act."
Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha said he was "utterly disgusted" by the incident.
He has written to the leadership of the municipality to ask them to provide him with a report on the steps they are going to take to ensure all those involved are held accountable.
Cosatu in the Eastern Cape said it was "shocked and appalled" by the alleged assault.
"This incident is a manifestation of a deep-seated crisis in the institution. It confirms the 'reign of terror' at [the] Amathole District Municipality and the usage of bouncers at the institution. Furthermore, this incident confirms [the] SA Municipal Workers' Union's assertion that [the] Amathole District Municipality is not a conducive environment for workers to work in. A permanent solution must be found to deal with these challenges."
Did you know you can listen to articles? Subscribe to News24 for access to this exciting feature and more.