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Three Nelson Mandela Bay ANC Councillors in court for assault and fraud

Aug 2, 2017
Three Nelson Mandela Bay ANC Councillors in court for assault and fraud

Three African National Congress (ANC) Councillors in the Nelson Mandela Bay are appearing in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court on criminal charges - two for assault and one for fraud and theft.

ANC Nelson Mandela Bay Chairman, Councillor Andile Lungisa, and Councillor Gamalihleli Maqula will appear in court on charges of assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm, with both alleged incidents taking place during a council meeting in October 2016.

Lungisa and Maqula, who are out on a R1 000 bail each, made a brief appearance in court on Monday when the case was postponed to Wednesday.

As a result of that brawl, DA Chief Whip, Werner Senekal, and Mayoral Committee member for Roads and Transport, Rano Kayser, were injured. Kayser had to be rushed to hospital bleeding from a huge gush on his head after apparently being hit by a glass water jug by Lungisa. Senekal was allegedly stabbed in the back with a sharp object by Maqula.

Reports suggest that trouble began when the ANC, which is now in opposition, objected to an item on the municipality's confidential green paper.

In the ensuing chaos, glass water jugs were thrown at Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, the Speaker and Councillors.

An ANC female Councillor collapsed in the mayhem and was also ferried to hospital.

Port Elizabeth police had to be called in to restore order after a security guard fired two warning shots while trying to control the fighting Councillors.

Kayser and Senekal later laid charges against Lungisa and Maqula.

Meanwhile, another ANC councillor, Bongo Nombimba, will appear in court on charges of fraud and theft relating to misappropriation of municipal funds.

The Kwazakhele Councillor is accused of allegedly swindling the municipality of R20 000, which was part of a donation to an organisation caring for the elderly. He first appeared in court in December 2016.

According to the State, Secretary of a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Thulamangwane Community Project that renders services such as caring for elderly people and cleaning schools in the community, Zukiswa Mbhem, and Deputy Chairperson, Mandisa Monco, with other members, approached the Councillor to request a R10 000 donation from the municipality as financial assistance for the NGO.

It is alleged that Nombimba instructed the group to put their request in writing, but not to mention the amount that they had requested, which they did in September 2014.

The State claims that Nombiba then forwarded the request to the Metro for an amount of R30 000, which was apparently meant for the organisation.

In November 2014, the Metro deposited R30 000 into the NGO's Standard Bank Account. However, Nombiba told the NGO that of the R30 000 deposited - R10 000 was what the NGO requested and the R20 000 was his.

That is when the fraud came to light.

The case was heard in March and on Monday, when it was postponed to Wednesday.

According to the State, Nombiba conveyed to the NGO management that the metro approved the donation and requested them to accompany him to the bank in order to confirm that the donation was deposited.

"The DA-led coalition has zero tolerance for criminal and corrupt behaviour and will stop at nothing to ensure that those responsible for such crimes are brought to justice," said Mlindi Nhanha, DA Eastern Cape Provincial Spokesperson.

"We are committed to completely rooting out corruption and managing municipalities effectively."