DA whip won’t apologise for ‘assault’

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Pretoria - DA chief whip in Tshwane, Rita Aucamp, faces further sanctions after refusing to apologise for allegedly assaulting and disrespecting council chief whip Jabu Mabona.

Aucamp was found guilty of contravening the code of conduct for councillors by approaching her ANC opposite number in an “unbecoming” manner.

However, Aucamp said: “I will not apologise. I was never asked to respond to the allegations and give my recollection of the event.”

In May, during the adjournment of a council meeting where the budget and integrated development plans were debated, Mabona indicated he had not received any list (of speakers) from the DA.

Aucamp allegedly approached Mabona in the presence of mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa and threw the list in the face of the chief whip. Mabona said he tried to stop her without success. He later told council he was offended by the conduct of the DA senior official.

“I want her to really withdraw what she did because I respect all councillors and deserve some respect too,” Mabona said. Ramokgopa said he witnessed the unsavoury conduct of the chief whip of the opposition, and said Mabona should not be treated in such a manner. He said people mistook the politeness and humility of Mabona for cowardice.

The matter was referred to the Rules and Ethics Committee, which found Aucamp guilty of unbecoming behaviour which was in contravention of the code of conduct.

The committee ruled that Aucamp apologise to the chief whip in council. In its report, presented in council yesterday, the committee concluded “what we have is an unbecoming, disrespectful conduct and assault on the dignity of the chief whip by the chief whip of the opposition”. However, Aucamp said she did not assault Mabona nor approach him in an unbecoming manner and would not apologise. Aucamp said the alleged offence did not happen during a council sitting.

The DA also rejected the ruling, saying the hearing was unfair as its leader was never given an opportunity to respond. The ANC caucus supported the ruling and said Aucamp should face her day in council and apologise to Mabona.

Joan Muller, chairwoman of the committee, said DA members did not attend the hearing, to which the opposition councillors responded they had approved leave on the day.

Muller said DA members were obliged to attend since the committee meeting had the same importance as council sitting. Muller added Aucamp, who was not at yesterday’s meeting, would be required to apologise at the September council sitting.

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