Ricochet News

‘Colchester IDP meeting violence politically-motivated’

By Afikile Lugunya - Apr 13, 2018
‘Colchester IDP meeting violence politically-motivated’

Nelson Mandela Bay MMC for Human Settlements, Nqaba Bhanga,  said that they believe that a third force was behind the violent interruptions that happened at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s IDP and Budget public participation meeting at Colchester Community Hall, in Colchester.

During the violence, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Speaker, Jonathan Lawack’s vehicle was damaged. He has since laid charges at the Swartkops police station.

The chaos allegedly started when a person wearing a red beret – identified as part of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) regalia, apparently disrupted the meeting by shouting the speaker down.

From that point, it was chaos as residents barricaded the hall entrances at its gates with burning objects. More than 20 vehicles were pelted with stones.

According to Bhanga, those involved in the violence were also wearing African National Congress (ANC) T-shirts.

“It is clear that these are planned politically motivated interruptions, which will not be tolerated.”

He added that the coalition government will remain committed to being a responsive, caring administration.

“We will do what is necessary, as it is our mandate, to ensure that residents get every opportunity to engage with their government,” Bhanga said.

“The vast majority of residents wish to participate productively and positively in government’s budget planning. It is a very small minority of people who are attempting to ruin this entire public participation process.”

He said that the Metro will work closely with the police to ensure that those responsible are arrested.

A 40-year-old man is expected in court on Monday after he was arrested by police carrying a tyre to the protest.

Bhanga added that “the way in which IDP meetings are facilitated and managed will change significantly from next week”.

“The existing schedule of meetings will be amended such that a larger number of staff and political leadership attend each meeting.

“Furthermore, the Safety & Security Directorate is busy preparing an intervention strategy that will ensure the safety of both residents and Metro officials,” he described.

“Sadly, more than half of the meetings already held have been disrupted and collapsed. This culminated in last night’s horrific acts of violence and criminality at the Colchester meeting, where councillor’s vehicles were stoned and petrol bombs were thrown.”

news 19413 24337 col2 jpegnews 19413 24338 col3 jpeg