Councillor, resident’s spat gets physical
Cape Town - A suburban spat reached boiling point when a DA councillor pushed his fist into a Wynberg resident’s throat at an inspection of a property in Claremont on Wednesday.
Darron Araujo, from Wynberg, attempted to ask DA councillor Ian Iversen questions relating to a “questionable zoning” application to which residents were opposed.
Another DA councillor, Elizabeth Brunette also reportedly told Araujo to “f*** off” during the incident.
Araujo was at a site inspection of a property in Claremont when he attempted to ask Iversen questions relating to the Protea subcouncil’s decision to grant departures for a development of three flats in a two-storey dwelling at the intersection of Orient and Silverlea roads in Wynberg.
About 60 residents objected to the application last year, but the subcouncil granted the departures anyway.
Wednesday’s incident was recorded on camera by residents at the site inspection.
The video footage shows Araujo walking next to Iversen asking questions.
At one point Iversen pats Araujo on the back, then pushes him away.
Iversen then smacks Araujo with papers in his hand and then pushes his fist into Araujo’s throat. Araujo can be heard asking Iversen: “Did you just smack me?”
Iversen replies: “Yes.”
Araujo has opened a case of common assault against Iversen at the Claremont Police Station.
“As I was reading questions to Iversen, he smacked me right through the face and put his fist to my throat. I did not react or swear at him,” Araujo said.
The spat between Iversen and Araujo has been playing out on the Cape Times letters pages.
Araujo said: “How are these elected public officials representing the interest of their constituencies when they assault or try to silence their constituency?”
The Protea subcouncil, which is chaired by Iversen, conducted a site inspection at Claremont resident Simon Mantell’s property as the city said his gabion (retaining) garden walls were built illegally.
Mantell completed building his house in 2012 and said the work was regularly checked and signed off by a city building inspector.
Last year, the city’s Spatial Planning, Environment and Land Use Planning Committee approved the rezoning of the Greenways guest house next to Mantell’s house, which operated illegally for 29 years.
Claremont residents were opposed to it.
The subcouncil was meant to use the site inspection at Mantell’s property on Wednesday to make a ruling on the gabion walls.
Mantell invited Araujo to the inspection as there were commonalities between the row over the Greenways and Wynberg rezoning applications.
When contacted for comment both Iversen and Brunette said: “I have no comment” and referred the Cape Times to Speaker Dirk Smit.
Smit said he had not yet received a formal report or complaint about the incident.
“I can confirm that there is a history of disagreement between the parties that were allegedly involved in the incident,” Smit said, adding he was gathering information to determine the veracity of previous complaints that were lodged in terms of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.
Smit said factual confirmation and evidence of the alleged assault would determine the way forward.
Police spokesman Captain Frederick van Wyk confirmed a case of assault had been opened.