WATCH: EFF clashes with security, police at City meeting

In video footage being circulated online, an eThekwini Council security guard can be seen being assaulted by at least three EFF councillors.

In video footage being circulated online, an eThekwini Council security guard can be seen being assaulted by at least three EFF councillors.

Published Nov 1, 2023

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Durban - EFF councillors were thrown out of a eThekwini Municipality full council meeting yesterday by security officers after the meeting degenerated into chaos.

EFF councillors demanded that city manager Musa Mbhele should not preside over the meeting. They had tried to remove him shortly after the meeting got under way in the morning.

In scenes reminiscent of clashes that involve the EFF’s members in the National Assembly, security officials including the eThekwini metro police were called into the chamber after the party’s councillors had become unruly and had been ordered to leave the meeting, but refused.

Security officers walked in and started trying to remove the party members. In one instance, a security official and an EFF member became engaged in a scuffle, while another female councillor charged at the security officer, throwing a punch.

It also appeared that disruptions had been anticipated as councillors remarked about the presence of security officials in and around the Durban ICC venue where the council meeting was held.

The EFF in eThekwini has made it clear that Mbhele’s presence at City Hall was no longer needed. The Mercury reported recently that the party wanted the city manager to resign, stating that the municipality was under performing under his stewardship.

Yesterday, it had seized on a report tabled before council on the revelations that the municipality had to return R1.2 billion in grant funding.

A letter from the National Treasury surfaced recently showing that the municipality had about R1.9bn in unspent grants and requested a roll-over of the grants. The Treasury agreed only to a roll-over of R720 million.

The party, along with others, had blamed city manager and mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. The EFF said the revelations about the grant funding were an indication of incompetence on the part of the city manager and his administration.

Kaunda denied that any money had been lost and said the National Treasury had requested that the City make further representations. “As a result, we have submitted additional information and the city manager and the CFO met with the National Treasury to make further representations last week.”

Themba Mvubu, leader of the EFF in council, said the information contained

in the report was among the reasons why the city manager should not preside over the meeting.

“There are super powerful administrators in this city, they don’t sign reports unless they are offered something,” said Mvubu.

“We can’t allow the city manager to sit here, he must just go,” he added.

DA leader Thabani Mthethwa had called for the EFF councillors to be thrown out as the meeting started to degenerate.

“This council and the people of eThekwini cannot be held to ransom by the EFF.”

Speaking on the grant funding, Mthethwa said, “If we lose the grants, they (mayor and city manager) must also go and follow the grants out the door.

“That includes the chairperson of human settlements (EFF leader Mvubu) because much of the grants we are losing are infrastructure related and he is the political head for that.

“He (the mayor) must take responsibility. He came here as a saviour in 2019, he has become the biggest liability. The city manager has never reported on challenges we face on spending the grants, we were told we were in line with spending of the grants.”

ActionSA councillor Zwakele Mncwango said the manner in which the EFF councillors had been thrown out of the meeting had been careless and risked the lives of all the councillors in the chamber.

“The security came in with their guns. If one of them had been disarmed, we would all have been in danger.”

THE MERCURY