EFF lays criminal charges after brawl at Tshwane budget speech

The EFF has laid charges of assault, harassment, victimisation, and intimidation following a brawl at the City of Tshwane budget speech on Thursday last week when some councillors were denied access to council chambers because of EFF protest.

Cited in the criminal case that was opened at the Pretoria central police station on Tuesday are speaker of council Murunwa Makwarela, the executive mayor Randall Williams, and the MMC of safety Ald Grandi Theunissen.

In videos circulating on social media, EFF councillors can be seen storming into council chambers and turning furniture upside down. They then turn their attention to Makwarela, pushing him and forcefully confiscating documents from him.

According to the chairperson of EFF in Tshwane, Obakeng Ramabodu, the brawl was caused by a decision to unleash “armed private security” on the party’s councillors. The party alleged that the decision was taken jointly by Makwarela, Williams and Theunissen.

In a statement, the EFF said: “The actions of the speaker of council, including the ones of the MMC of safety to call private security on members of council, are unacceptable.

“The MMC of safety has sidelined the rules of council and those of the constitution of South Africa [section 58] by ordering armed security forces to assault and forcefully remove democratically elected members of council for exercising their democratic rights.”

Ramabodu said the rules of the council state that the sitting should be postponed after 20 minutes if it does not quorate, but alleged that the speaker was determined to proceed.

“The speaker wanted to proceed with council [meeting] even when it did not quorate, he then instructed the MMC [of safety] to call security. That’s when we started fighting,” said Ramabodu.

The multi-party coalition government in Tshwane also laid counter charges of intimidation, disruption of council meeting, and destruction of property against the EFF, indicating that the organisation’s actions were unacceptable.

The coalition said no party has the right to disrupt the work of council or deny the residents an opportunity to hear the budget speech.

In response to counter criminal charges, the EFF said: “In anticipation of their defeat to the superior logic of the EFF caucus in the council deliberations, the speaker connived with the DA to bring a bunch of unidentified and unelected people in the council chambers.

“Categorically, the EFF councillors did not engage in any action of malicious damage to property, and we, therefore, note the character assassination by the multi-party coalition.”

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