Port Elizabeth - A Democratic Alliance councillor said he did not feel himself being stabbed, nor did he personally see who attacked him during a brawl during a sitting of the Nelson Mandela Bay city council more than a year ago.
DA councillor and chief whip in the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, Werner Senekal, was testifying in the assault case against African National Congress (ANC) provincial heavyweight Andile Lungisa and Gamalihleli Maqula before the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court.
Lungisa and Maqula, who are both ANC councillors, have pleaded not guilty to charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, relating to the brawl in council chambers on October 27, 2016.
Lungisa is accused of smashing a glass jug over the head of mayoral committee member for transport Rano Kayser, while Maqula is accused of stabbing Senekal in the back with a sharp object.
They both pleaded not guilty as the trial got underway.
Court had to adjourn briefly as an emotional Senekal battled to speak when State prosecutor Wayne Ludick asked him to recount what had happened on the day in question.
When court resumed, Senekal said council had descended into chaos and he had gone to the main entrance of the council chambers to get speaker Jonathan Lawack’s close protection guard inside the chamber.
He said while he was at the door, a shot had gone off and he was caught in a "mini tsunami" as people tried to get out. He said while in the foyer he was confronted by ANC councillors who accused him of instructing a guard to fire the shot.
Senekal said he had then been escorted back into the chamber by fellow councillors, and it was at this time he had been informed by city manager Johan Mettler that he had just been stabbed.
He said he had removed his jacket and shirt to determine the extent of his injuries, and saw his clothing had been pierced, but that he had only sustained a minor laceration to his back, between his shoulder blades.
He said he had not seen who had stabbed him. Under cross examination, Senekal said he could not deny that the injuries could have been sustained while he was caught up in the throng of people at the door, or during the confrontation outside in the foyer.
Following Senekal’s testimony, Mettler took the stand and told the court he had been inside the chamber when the stabbing allegedly took place.
Mettler, who stands over two metres tall, said he had a clear view of Senekal, and had seen Maqula, who was behind the chief whip, make a stabbing motion.
He said at the same time that Senekal had taken a step forward and grimaced, as if in pain. Mettler said this led him to draw the conclusion that Senekal had been stabbed, and he went to help. He said when it was determined that Senekal's injuries were not severe, he went to assist Kayser.
Following Mettler’s testimony, court adjourned for the day.
The matter is scheduled to resume on Monday, January 29.
African News Agency/ANA