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By Marizka Coetzer


Tshwane coalition partners open a case against EFF

EFF spokesperson Obakeng Ramabodu said the fight started when private security was called in.

The fight which broke out during the City of Tshwane council meeting last week was only the start of a war between the coalition government in the city and the opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

On Tuesday, the office of the executive mayor and the city’s multiparty coalition government met at the Brooklyn police station to lay criminal charges against EFF councillors for intimidation, assault and malicious damage, following the disruptions by the opposition party during the budget speech last Thursday.

Meanwhile, at the Pretoria Central police station, EFF members laid counter-charges against the mayor and speaker. Acting city mayor and the city’s MMC for finance, Peter Sutton, said they considered the incident an attack on democracy.

“We saw our speaker physically attacked on his podium.” Sutton said what was witnessed in the doings of the EFF was like a pandemic that had issued forth from its leader, Julius Malema, and this was to disrupt councils and make them ungovernable. “We are not going to stand for that,” Sutton said.

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The Tshwane speaker, Murunwa Makwarela, said now was not a time for politicking but to deliver services. Makwarela said it was the constitutional right of residents to hear what the government they elected had to say.

“We can’t have a party that think they can stop the proceedings in the council. What we saw last week, was not only barbaric but also an act of sabotage, an act of criminal activity and an act of violence against fellow councillors,” Makwarela said.

Makwarela said there were a few councillors involved in the fracas that had to be dealt with forthwith, “as in yesterday”. MMC for corporate and shared services Kingsley Wakelin said the EFF brought the council into chaos and disorder.

“We will no more allow the decorum and integrity of democratic institutions to degenerate into some lawless circus,” he said.

Wakelin confirmed the coalition partners opened a case against the EFF for intimidation, assault, death threats and malicious damage to council property. Kingsley called on the minister of police, Bheki Cele, to investigate with urgency and speed and to ensure that the rule of law was respected and applied.

Local ward councillor Shaun Wilkinson said the only thing the EFF was in charge of was anarchy and disruptions in the council.

“They were throwing over pot plants, threatening a woman, uttering racist slurs, insulting, swearing, making false accusations, grabbing the speaker’s laptop, grabbing documents from the mayor, jumping on top of furniture and throwing furniture around,” he said.

EFF spokesperson Obakeng Ramabodu said the fight started when private security was called in. He said the scuffle was caused when the mayor decided to bring in armed private security and that “rules do not permit that”.

Ramabodu said there was a rule that meeting should be postponed if the council had not started within 20 minutes of the time it was set to start.

“Our argument with the speaker was the 20 minutes passed and council should not have started.”

– marizkac@citizen.co.za

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