A scuffle broke out in the Nelson Mandela Bay council on Tuesday after Speaker Buyelwa Mafaya ruled that there was an illegal councillor in the chamber.
“New” DA councillor Lutho Sokudela was sworn in last month after the now infamous council meeting that saw former mayor Athol Trollip ousted, replacing Mbulelo Manyati, who had been immediately “removed” by the DA.
However, the Eastern Cape High Court ruled last week that Manyati was still a councillor until he chose to resign or disciplinary measures against him were concluded by the DA.
City manager Johan Mettler read out the court judgment to clarify the matter.
Sokudela was therefore “illegally” in council, Mafaya told the chamber. The DA caucus objected and chief whip Werner Senekal said Manyati was no longer a member of the party, by their rules.
News24 understands that the scuffle ensued after metro police attempted to remove Sokudela.
Later on Tuesday, Mafaya claimed that DA councillor Retief Odendaal had threatened her, to jeers from the DA caucus.
Odendaal did not immediately respond to the charge in council.
The special council meeting was expected to deal with the possible suspension of Mettler.
However, the disruptions around Sokudela’s right to be in council led to the early collapse of the meeting.
DA councillors formed a wall around Sokudela’s seat to shield him from municipality security.
All attempts to calm the violence failed and the meeting was postponed to Thursday.
In a media briefing following the collapsed sitting, executive officials, including mayor Mongameli Bobani, Mafaya and ANC caucus leader Bicks Ndoni, said they would review the use of the building for council meetings.
“Security will be beefed up and we will review the use of these premises as a venue for the council meetings,” said Ndoni.
“This building is not safe for use and we have observed this many times before. It is time we act before we have regretful occurrences again,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mafaya said she would lay charges against Odendaal.
*This story has been updated since first publication.