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Council violence: ANC Nelson Mandela Bay blames DA-led coalition for provocation

By Yolanda Palezweni - Oct 28, 2016
Council violence: ANC Nelson Mandela Bay blames DA-led coalition for provocation

The African National Congress (ANC) in the Nelson Mandela Bay on Friday said that while it regrets the events that led to violent clashes in a Nelson Mandel Bay Council meeting on Thursday, it was the Democratic Alliance-led coalition that is to blame for the fiasco, which left two councillors in hospital.

Addressing the media at its Florence Matomela House offices, in Govan Mabeki Avenue, Port Elizabeth, the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay said that the violence was the culmination of ongoing quarrels between the two parties, which began since the launch of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality's Integrated Development Planning (IDP) public meetings a few weeks ago.

The ANC said that in all the IDP meetings, ANC councillors have been "marginalised, side-lined and ridiculed by the DA and its coalition partner", the United Democratic Movement (UDM), which is represented by Mongameli Bobani, who is the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Deputy Executive Mayor under the coalition.

The party, which now fills the opposition benches for the first time since 1994, further said its ranks were unhappy because of an IDP meeting that was held at  Nangazo Jebe Hall, New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, three weeks back where the DA allegedly accused Ward Councillor Xola Sobani of hijacking the meeting.

“The leadership of ANC has been patient enough and tolerated the mistreatment of the DA-led coalition government, but they have constantly provoking ANC on a daily basis. We are the opposition benches but we constantly insulted specifically by the Executive Mayor, Trollip,” said ANC Councillor, Andile Lungisa.

He added that they requested to the Speaker of the Council to allow the ANC to make representations in the matter as they felt that the DA is on a mission to further dislodge the ANC even in the wards it won in the August 3rd Local Government Elections and deliberately wants to divide local communities.

“Our plea fell on deaf ears and the last straw was for the DA bringing an item to council to discipline Councillor Sabani and that we could not accept,” he said.

How the violence unfolded

ANC Nelson Mandela Bay leader, Bicks Ndoni, said the clashes began when two ANC Councillors, Lungisa and Makhi Feni, tried to discuss the matter of Sabani with the Speaker.

That was when a member of DA caucas shouted that they are going to attack the Speaker na dfrom there everything went south.

In the ensuing fracas, glass water jugs were allegedly thrown at Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, the Speaker and Councillors, unfortunately, DA Portfolio Councillor for Roads and Transport, Rayno Kayser, was injured and had to be taken to hospital with a deep cut to the head.

An ANC female Councillor was also reported to have collapsed in the chaos and was also ferried to hospital.

Furthermore, it is alleged that it was a security guard, who actually fired two warning shots while trying to control the fighting Councillors before Port Eizabeth police stepped in.

“We condemn the violence seen during the council meeting, the kind of violent behaviour is totally unacceptable and it has no place in a constitutional democracy.

"What happened yesterday clearly shows the intensity of hatred by DA towards the ANC, and we are pleading to our members to remain disciplined and to all political leaders to act with the sole objective to defuse violence,” said Councillor Ndoni.

He added that, the ANC has no knowledge about the security guard, who fired the shots during the council meeting.

Ndoni urged police to further investigate how a gun was brought into the Council and said that all members of the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay, including its leaders, will respect the investigation.

ANC Nelson Mandela Bay Council whip, Councillor Litho Suka, said the incident clearly shows that security personnel present at the Council meeting are not properly trained as they could have handled the situation differently.

“Security guards need to be properly trained on how to handle situations like that one, firing shots it was totally unacceptable, said Councillor Suka.

The ANC also said that, two councillors - Lungisa and Makhi Feni, have opened case of assault and claimed that while they were at St Georges Hospital to see their injured colleague, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Trollip, verbally insulted and threatened them.

“We chose to remain calm because we know that we would be seen as the wrong ones. In my life I’ve never been this insulted,” said Lungisa.

In conclusion, the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay said that they will request another Council Meeting, where they will work with the DA to come up with ways to solve matters and work together.

“Our people will not accept this kind of behaviour and we need to lead by example the party also wish speedy recovery to all the Councillors who were injured,” said Ndoni.

DA blames ANC for 'coordinated campain' of disruptions nationwide 

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused the African National Congress (ANC) of waging a "coordinated campaign" to disrupt the council meetings of Nelson Mandela Bay, Johannesburg and Tshwane on Thursday.

"The ANC cannot accept its electoral defeat at the hands of the DA in the major Metros, and has nothing left to offer but chaos and disorder. The conduct of the ANC today was a disgrace," said James Selfe, Chairperson of the DA's Federal Council.