Johannesburg – The EFF in Ekurhuleni says it will not be bullied following a clash with police inside the city’s council chambers.
On Wednesday, speaker of council Patricia Khumalo called members of the Ekurhuleni Metro Police to assist in ejecting members of the red berets from the special sitting.
Mayor Mzwandile Masina was set to deliver his state of the city address.
In videos of the sitting, councillors from the EFF are seen pushing back against metro cops, throwing objects and water in their direction. Most of the police retreat and then attempt ejecting the EFF councillors, but fail.
“We took a decision that we would not succumb to any bullying. We stood our ground and decided to defend ourselves. They cannot stop us from participating in the business of the sitting,” said EFF Ekurhuleni chairperson Mampuru Mampuru.
Mampuru told News24 that the EFF had been promised a report on the protection services who were used to eject them at the previous sitting.
Violence erupted before, following a failed motion of no confidence brought by the DA against Masina.
Mampuru said Khumalo had previously made a commitment to give the party feedback, but failed to do so at Wednesday’s sitting.
“We were requesting the report because the speaker had made a commitment in terms of who are those people, who hired them, why are they here, with which money were they being paid and which budget,” said Mampuru.
‘Guns, live ammunition’
He said the party had also asked for assurances that they would not be ejected or assaulted while in the chamber.
“When we asked for the report, she refused. All of a sudden she got emotional and that degenerated the whole sitting. She then called the metro police officials with guns, live ammunition, to come and eject EFF members,” Mampuru said.
But Khumalo’s spokesperson, Sphelele Nxele, told News24 she had only called the metro cops into the chamber to assist security officials who had their hands full with rowdy councillors.
“She made a ruling on a series of points of order made by the EFF. The house then became very rowdy, and in order to reinstate order she had called in our security officers,” said Nxele.
By virtue of the fact that both legislative and administrative authorities were in the house, the speaker was able to call in the police, added Nxele.
Mampuru said his party felt the ANC in the region was emulating the governing party in Parliament.
“She has illegally taken a decision which put the lives of councillors at risk. We pleaded with her to please use the rules of the house to preside over the business of the house, but she refused,” he said.
Mampuru said the speaker, Masina and members of the mayoral council had walked out and continued with the address outside the chambers.