Councillors behaving badly to be discussed, following rowdy collapsed meeting

A recent council meeting incident is expected to haunt councillors involved in the fight, as a disciplinary hearing looms. Picture: David Ritchie/ African News Agency (ANA)

A recent council meeting incident is expected to haunt councillors involved in the fight, as a disciplinary hearing looms. Picture: David Ritchie/ African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 8, 2023


Cape Town - Agitated opposition parties who claim to be under attack and targeted by City of Cape Town speaker, Felicity Purchase, are eagerly awaiting the outcome of an investigation into a physical altercation during a full council meeting.

A meeting has been scheduled for next week, which Purchase and the council chief whip, Desiree Visagie said is aimed at addressing the behavioural issues of elected representatives.

Asked about the progress of the investigation, Purchase said: "That's an ongoing process, it will take some time, but the involved councillors will face disciplinary hearing."

This follows a physical incident between some councillors during a council meeting on March 29 where bottles of water flew high, fist fights were imminent and the swearing was deafening.

The meeting had to be adjourned, and the mayor intervened quickly to move agenda items forward.

EFF councillor Mzubanzi Dambuza said they were looking forward to the outcome of the meeting, as they'd see who would fall prey to the DA-led investigation.

"The most guilty is the speaker for failing to manage the house. She is the instigator of all that transpired and has on numerous occasions proven she's not fit for the position.

“She is biased, quick to defend the DA and participate in the debates. This is not the first council to collapse in her hands and it is unacceptable. It doesn't paint a good picture of our leadership in our communities. People are watching," Dambuza said.

Banele Majingo of the ANC, said the party condemned the incident and hoped all that follows "would be fairly considered and did not exclude the fact that the issue was with the speaker.

“She should guide the house, monitor the interactions and not to respond. The worst part was when the whips asked for a caucus, yet she proceeded with the meeting in their absence. By the time they returned, she had moved items and was seconded by the mayor. That's totally wrong," Majingo said.

Fadiel Adams of the Cape Coloured Congress said they were looking forward to next week's meeting where opposition parties were ready to make their voices heard and put the speaker in her place.

He said under her leadership, most opposition parties and individuals were targeted and sometimes silenced. He had sent the party’s grievances to the council following the disrupted meeting.

Responding to the allegations, Purchase said: "Nonsense, those are just the ones who do not want to behave. The council has rules to abide by and a protocol to be followed. Any disturbing behaviour is dealt with, and that's what this meeting is meant for. They are most welcome to instigate any action against me, it's theirs right. For now, I will do what is expected of me as the speaker."

Last week the Weekend Argus reported that the controversy was sparked by arguments over agenda items, including the proposed transfer of land for New Belhar police station, a three-year agreement with the Absa10km race, the 2023/2023 budget draft, the disciplinary proceedings of suspended former mayco member, Zahid Badroodien, the extension of four Community Improvement Districts, among other items, of which all were positively approved by the majority. Although approved, concerns over the impact and intended benefit were questioned.