Ricochet News

DA's Retief Odendaal denies threatening NMBM Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya

By Afikile Lugunya - Sep 26, 2018
DA's Retief Odendaal denies threatening NMBM Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Speaker, Buyelwa Mafaya, is trying to deflect attention and looking for a scapegoat.

That is according to the Democratic Alliance's (DA) former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Budget and Treasury MMC, Retief Odendaal, who was responding to Mafaya’s announcement that she would lay charges against him after he apparently threatened her with “bloodshed” in the Council Chambers at Tuesday’s chaotic special Council Meeting.

Odendaal denied allegations that he threatened Mafaya and explained to RNEWS how the conversation occurred.

"I went up to the Speaker's podium and I waited for 30 seconds and asked her twice whether I can approach her where she then indicated on the second occasion that I can go up to her,” he described.

"I then went to her and said I'm very concerned about what's happening in council and this council meeting is degenerating very quickly and she will have to step in and do something before blood gets spilled.

"She then said to me ‘are you threatening me?’ I said no no not at all I'm trying to get you to take control of this meeting.”

Odendaal maintains he did not threaten the Speaker

Odendaal said that Mafaya again asked him if he was threatening her about three times.

“I said no on three occasions where then the City Manager [Johann Mettler] asked me to leave," he explained.

He maintains he did not threaten the Speaker, adding that she was instead just "deflecting her own inability to control that meeting and obviously looking for a scape goat”.

On Tuesday, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, blamed the DA, which is now the official opposition in the Bay, for the chaos.

Mafaya was forced to adjourn the special Council Meeting to Thursday.

Things went downhill in the Council Meeting after the DA brought in Lutho Sokudela, whom the party appointed at the beginning of this month to replace its rogue Councillor, Mbulelo Victor Manyathi, whom the Port Elizabeth High Court ruled was still legally a DA Councillor last week.

The result was that there were now 121 Councillors in a 120-seat Council.

The DA is now understood to be busy with internal processes to terminate Manyathi’s membership. 

Mafaya to lay charges

Speaking to the press after adjourning the Council Meeting, Mafaya said that she will lay charges against Odendaal  for allegedly promising "bloodshed" if she did not adjourn the special Council Meeting.

Mafaya said that she didn’t expect any chaos to happen at the Council meeting on Tuesday, but got the shock of her life when her life was allegedly threatened by Odendaal.

“Cllr Odendaal came to where I was sitting and advised me that there will be bloodshed if I don’t call off the Council Meeting.

“That alone is a direct threat to me as a custodian of Council and I will deal with that," she said.

"No one is above the Speaker of Council, I personally, as the Speaker of Council, should open a case against Councillor Odendaal."

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Council Chief Whip, Pumelele Ndoni, said that “bloodshed” is a serious threat, which must be seriously condemned.

He added that the matter will be investigated while an internal probe will also be pursued as to how the security seemed to stand by when they were called in by the Speaker to escort Sokudela out.

“There was a point where the guards were not doing their jobs, which should be investigated.”

'There was bloodshed in 2016'

Bobani said that, in 2016, there was bloodshed when the African National Congress' (ANC) Cllr Andile Lungisa hit a DA councillor, Rayno Kayser, with a glass jar.

He said that the matter was dealt with and condemned in the council chambers, “we are not going to allow the opposition to disrupt us in our mission and objectives of serving our residents".

The MMC of Safety and Security, Litho Suka, said that the disruptions on Tuesday revealed gaps in security, which should be tightened. He promised to meet with the relevant stakeholders ensure that what occurred on Tuesday will not happen on Thursday

“I’m glad that no one was harmed today because of these extreme provocations that were led by their provincial leader, Nqaba Bhanga, and the former Mayor and the municipal manager, which we are still going to deal with,” he said.

Suka hinted that Mettler is on the side of the DA judging from his actions when security was instructed to take Sokudela out of the Council Chambers.

“We have looked into what happened at council and in the manner that our executive behaved in the council meeting today.

“He was so tall and long amongst the security guards conveying [certain messages] and we have looked into everything that was happening in the manner in which our executive behaved amongst the securities,” MMC Suka described.

Follow more RNEWS articles, subscribe to our YouTube channel and for breaking news LIKE us on Facebook.