Pretoria – The Speaker of the Tshwane Council, Rachel Mathebe, on Monday lamented the violence and disruption of the council’s ordinary sitting last week, which she said distracted Tshwane from its core service delivery objectives.

“The extraordinary events of last Tuesday, where a City of Tshwane Council meeting was violently and aggressively disrupted by the caucus of the ANC, constitute both criminal conduct and a severe breach of the rules and orders of the City of Tshwane. We are a house of rules and orders and it cannot be tolerated that a single opposition party can hold the business of council to ransom,” Mathebe said at a media briefing in Centurion.

“We have critically important work to do in Tshwane. Under the new administration, we have a deeply rooted web of corruption to undo. We have a financial mess to clean up. We have service delivery to restore and expand. Critically, we have an economy to ignite. This work cannot be stopped by the conduct of just one party.”

Mathebe said since the violent fracas in the council chambers, a criminal case has been opened at the Pretoria central police station.

“The case includes allegations of assault, and malicious damage to property. I have completed a sworn statement as Speaker and presiding officer. In addition, video footage captured in the chamber, media photographs from the violent events, and minutes of council will be handed to the SAPS. The SAPS have assigned a case number and an investigating officer,” she said.

“A case has been opened with the City of Tshwane’s Rules and Ethics Committee, after a complaint to the committee was lodged by (Democratic Alliance) Chief Whip Christo van den Heever. The Rules and Ethics Committee complaint includes that members of the ANC committed repeated misconduct during Council, including destruction of municipal property, unbecoming and threatening language, continued disregard of the Speaker’s authority and rulings.”

Chaos erupted after African National Congress (ANC) councillors initially complained that Tshwane Mayor Solly Msimanga had made illegal appointments. Moments later, bottles, chairs and other missiles were sent flying across the council chambers. Some councillors were treated for injuries after the brawl.

Tshwane’s Rules and Ethics Committee is now set to hold hearings into the conduct of the ANC’s Tshwane councillors.

Van den Heever said the Ethics Committee investigation was expected to take four to six weeks.

“At its conclusion, any ANC councillor who is found to have breached the rules faces the following sanctions: suspension for a period determined by the Committee, a monetary fine handed to a councillor, a formal warning may be issued to the councillor which they must comply with, or a formal reprimand to the councillor may be made,” he said.

“The most severe sanction that could be imposed by the Ethics Committee is to request the MEC for Local Government in Gauteng to remove the councillor from office. We will continue to engage with the ANC leadership to bring their members to order.”

Msimanga last week met with ANC provincial chairperson, Paul Mashatile regarding the fracas.