EFF, ANC members to face music for brawl in Joburg council
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has laid charges of intimidation and assault.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) member raises a point during the City of Johannesburg meeting on May 23, 2017. Picture: Gallo Images / Beeld / Felix Dlangamandla
City of Joburg speaker Vasco da Gama says all those involved in the brawl at a council meeting on Wednesday night will be criminally charged.
Police are dealing with the matter and he has mandated the Ethics Committee to also investigate.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has laid charges of intimidation and assault against Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) members after the council brawl during a marathon 12-hour meeting, which ended up being suspended during the early hours on Thursday.
Da Gama condemns the violent and obstructive behaviour of the ANC and EFF. He says such behaviours would no longer be tolerated.
“After several frivolous points of order by both ANC and EFF members, their disruptive behaviour caused chaos, and it was clear that their intention was to disrupt and collapse the council meeting.”
It is understood the EFF, the ANC and smaller opposition parties accused Da Gama of rigging council processes to push a candidate favoured by the DA to act as council secretary.
The issue continued for months – and when mentioned on Wednesday – it caused chaos.
Da Gama says the EFF were seen manhandling and forcefully removing him from his seat and attacking female councillors.
“It is appalling that female councillors were beaten up by their male EFF counterparts a day after Women’s Day. Action speaks louder than words. And their actions expose them as selfish hypocrites,” he says.
Joburg mayor Mpho Phalatse says the presence of EFF’s hard hats, and their use as weapons in council, is something to be reconsidered for the safety of all councillors, officials and residents who attend the sittings.
“Women face the brunt of society’s ills; it is therefore deeply upsetting that the city council, which has the responsibility to legislate, inter alia, solutions that protect vulnerable groups, like women, would perpetuate violence against women – for the entire world to see,” she says.
“The lack of appropriate action from law enforcement authorities fuels these violent acts in council, and reinforces the reality that gender-based violence and criminality in society are not treated urgently.”
Da Gama reminds councillors their salaries are being paid by the residents of Joburg and their sole job is to represent and promote the interests of residents of the city.
“To disrupt the meeting and delay council proceedings with such violent, anti-social behaviour, deprives the people of the City of Joburg of much-needed services and solutions and destroys the trust they have placed in councillors,” he says.