The case against two African National Congress (ANC) councillors from Nelson Mandela Bay, who are facing charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, will go to trial after mediation efforts failed.
The charges against the councillors relate to a violent brawl which broke out during a council meeting in October last year.
Gamalihleli Maqula, 28, and Andile Lungisa, 39, appeared briefly in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.
Their trial will get underway on August 23.
Defence lawyer Luthando Nqgakayi told the court that the matter could not be mediated and would have to go to trial.
“I can confirm we have received copies of the [police] docket. The matter cannot be mediated,” said Nqgakayi.
The councillors were supported by a group of ANC members who attended court proceedings.
Following the incident, the pair handed themselves over to police and are currently out on bail of R1,000 each.
Maqula has a previous conviction for kidnapping and assault of a teenage boy, and is currently serving a sentence of correctional supervision.
After court proceedings, Lungisa addressed ANC members, confident that the case against them would collapse.
“This case is going to collapse, there is no case. It was a conflict within the council which is run by its policies. Any conflict within the council is addressed within the council chambers.”
Lungisa said that Executive Mayor Athol Trollip of the Democratic Alliance (DA) was “non-sensical” and did not know how to run the municipality.
Last month, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality called an urgent media briefing, alleging that the complainants in the case, Chief Whip of council Werner Senekal, and Mayoral committee head for roads and transport, Rano Kayser, had received “verified death threats via SMS” which it was claimed were linked to the ongoing criminal case against Lungisa and Maqula.
It is alleged that Maqula stabbed Senekal in the back with a sharp object, while Lungisa apparently hit Kayser, with a glass jug over his head during the council meeting which turned chaotic.
At the time, Trollip, said that there was “direct information there is a contract or hit team to do the work”, adding that there were continued concerns over the safety of members from his Mayoral Committee team.
The ANC has since slammed the DA coalition government for “insinuating” that ANC members were involved.