ANC factionalism leads to chaos at special council meeting

Roy Cronje

DA Caucus leader Nkangala District Municipality

Deep divisions and factions within the ruling ANC again became apparent at a special council meeting in Nkangala district on Friday evening.

ANC councillor from eMalahleni local municipality S. Nkosi, who is allegedly facing disciplinary charges for having business dealings with the Nkangala district municipality, initiated a motion to remove the ANC council speaker Cllr BA Nkwanyana from office. This angered the members of the ANC seated in the public gallery and other ANC councillors who started shouting and totally disrupted proceedings. They wanted to know why Nkosi was turning against a fellow ANC comrade.

As the meeting could not proceed, The Municipal Manager called a 5 minute recess. The DA in the meantime could not declare its intention not to participate in the meeting as per Chapter 6 Section 86 (6) of the Standing rules of order of Council which states that 7 day notice had to be given of the meeting. Members of the DA caucus only received notice of the meeting on Tuesday 13 January 3 days before the meeting.

When the meeting resumed, ANC members, presumed to be supporters of the speaker, again started disrupting the proceedings, threatening members of the security called in to maintain order.

At this time the DA declared its intention not to further participate in the meeting as per the standing rules of order and the Municipal Manager called for a 30 minute recess. As councillors left the chamber, ANC members went on the rampage, jumping over railings and chairs.

Access to the building precinct were blockaded with rocks and the police were deployed as nobody could leave the premises. Rioting ANC members attempted to climb over and break down the palisades in front of the district council parking area to attack the police in the main street.

Meanwhile, other ANC members continued their rampage inside the municipal building, spraying pepper spray into the council chamber and attacking members of the catering firm contracted to the district municipality and destroying their equipment and hurling cans of soft drink at councillors in the parlour.

Two councillors that were hit were injured. All municipal officials and councillors moved into the parking area for safety reasons as they still could not leave the premises due to the gates still being locked. After the arrival of the riot squad and tactical Team from eMalahleni, the situation was brought under control and a few perpetrators arrested.

If this is the method used by the current ruling party to settle internal differences, what else will it be like on the road to the 2016 local Government elections?

The Democratic Alliance takes exception to and distances itself from all forms of unruly behaviour, damaging of property, violence and intimidation in order to achieve and manipulate any outcome in the Nkangala District Council.