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By Hein Kaiser

Journalist


Threat to lay criminal charges against EFF after violent Ekurhuleni council clash

DA chief whip Mike Waters said that the EFF were unhappy about an agenda item to discuss an institutional review of the city and its administration.


The Democratic Alliance (DA) will be laying criminal charges against the EFF and several red beret councillors after Thursday’s Ekurhuleni council meeting turned violent.

The meeting turned into a fisticuff festival after attempts to collapse the meeting by the EFF failed.

Video evidence shows how DA members were attacked in the council chamber.

Councillor Victor Lukhele was shoved to the ground and kicked and stomped said the party, and The Citizen has seen pictures swelling and bruising on another’s hands. Three female and one male councillors had to receive medical attention for injuries sustained during the attack.

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DA chief whip Mike Waters said that the EFF were unhappy about an agenda item to discuss an institutional review of the city and its administration.

“The EFF started chanting comments at the beginning of the meeting, and then they stormed us,” he said.

Reports note that the EFF called out the DA as racists.

Earlier in the day, the EFF issued a statement welcoming the resignation of freshly elected DA councillor Danie Putter, who has been at the centre of a local thunderstorm with allegations of racism levelled against him.

The EFF said that the party will not “tolerate arrogant and shameless white racists who show now remorse for their racism” and continued to say that there is no space for racism in the council.

It also laid charges of crimen injuria against Putter and noted that it would pressure state organs to eradicate racism across the board.

Putter was elected ward councillor about a month ago in a byelection following the retirement of another DA councillor.

A source inside the DA caucus said that the EFF’s behaviour in council on Thursday had less to do with the institutional review and much more to do with revenge over Putter’s alleged racist comments.

Officially, the DA suggested that the red berets wanted to silence the report about council inefficiencies under an EFF-led ANC coalition that may have exposed poor service delivery.

A statement issued by the DA caucus claimed that when the Council Protection Services were summoned into the Council Chamber to end the conflict, the EFF turned on them shouting “who authorised you to enter the chambers? We are in charge here”. 

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In addition, the DA claimed that EFF Speaker of Council, Nthabiseng Tshivhenga, “avoided taking responsibility for what happened and failed to control the meeting. Instead, she sat idle, while her EFF thugs physically assaulted councillors. Once matters escalated violently, the Speaker abruptly adjourned the meeting and walked out, leaving the EFF councillors to continue the assault on the DA councillors unabated.”

The EFF leader in the city was unavailable for comment due to illness, but there was also no mention of the incident on any of the party’s social media channels, bar its joy at the departure of Putter.

“The EFF’s mandate of thuggery and anarchy comes at a cost to service delivery of the people.

“We cannot allow the EFF thugs to collapse the council and attack councillors while communities across Ekurhuleni are crying for services,” said the DA.

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“I feel sad and angry at the same time. Angry at the speaker for not acting and angry at the EFF because they think that they have the right to resort to violence and assault people without any provocation. And I am sad because this is a dark stain on South Africa’s democracy,” Waters said.

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