Disorder erupted during the City of Tshwane’s regular council meeting as EFF councillors led a protest against Mayor Cilliers Brink, vowing to prevent him from addressing the council due to the dismissal of 122 workers.
These workers, affiliated with the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu), had been terminated for participating in an unprotected strike as reported by IOL.
EFF councillors voiced their demand for reinstating the dismissed workers during the council session held at the Tshwane House Council Chamber. Led by caucus leader Obakeng Ramabodu, the councillors held placards displaying messages of support for the workers’ strike and wage demands.
The protest turned violent when threats were made against councillors from the multiparty coalition. A physical confrontation ensued, with a DA councillor physically assaulted and stripped of his jacket and shirt.
Some ANC councillors also joined the fray, chanting songs in support of the EFF’s cause. Brink condemned the meeting’s violent disruption by the EFF, noting that it constituted a criminal offence according to the new code of conduct.
Ramabodu led the EFF caucus in the protest, which escalated into physical altercations. Despite the violence, Brink emphasised that they would not be driven out of the chamber.
Earlier, council speaker Mncedi Ndzwanana expressed disappointment at the multiparty coalition’s failure to attend a special council meeting on August 24. This meeting was called to address the deteriorating state of service delivery due to the ongoing strike.
Ndzwanana explained that Mayor Brink had initially requested a virtual meeting for safety reasons, but he refused and assured the safety of all councillors. He then asked for Brink to present during the current council meeting.
Before Brink could address the council, Ramabodu took to the podium, declaring that the city would not function until the workers were reinstated. He accused a “cartel” from Stellenbosch of running the city and claimed that the city manager, Johann Mettler, was no longer neutral but a politician.
Ramabodu urged EFF councillors to prevent Brink from speaking.
City manager Johann Mettler had applied the “no work, no pay” principle when evidence showed workers failing to report for duty. Mayor Brink emphasised that the city could not pay salaries to employees who refused to perform essential tasks, resulting in fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
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