Glasses were hurled, resulting in a councillor suffering a serious head injury. The brawl in the Woolboard Exchange Building was brought to a halt when a security guard fired a gunshot into the ceiling.
A DA and an ANC councillor were taken to hospital for treatment.
Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem described the mayhem as an “assault on the state, its institutions and a crime against the people”.
“The violent conduct of ANC councillors in the council meeting today is yet another case of them refusing to accept the will of the people and abide by democratic outcomes. They have been so used to power and being extremely power drunk that they are still hallucinating of returning to power,” Bloem said.
Cope, a partner in the multiparty government, would “not be intimidated by violent losers”, Bloem continued.
“We shall continue to execute the will and mandate of the people. This municipality is named after one of the founding fathers of our democracy, our beloved Nelson Mandela. He warmly embraced differences of opinion and unconditionally believed in peaceful resolution of conflict”.
“He championed an electoral dispensation to ensure that the will of the people is secured through democratic participation and outcomes. These hooligans are sadly betraying these efforts and the legacy of our world renowned statesman.”
The DA’s federal executive chairperson James Selfe said the day’s events were a “co-ordinated campaign” by the ANC, and that the disruptions had also taken place at council meetings in Johannesburg and Tshwane.
“In Johannesburg the ANC caucus disrupted council for long periods, staged walkouts, returned and continued to disrupt the business of council. It is clear that in Johannesburg the caucus of councillor Parks Tau is nothing more than a band of thugs and hooligans, who have no concern for the people of Johannesburg whom council must serve,” Selfe said.
“In Tshwane, the ANC tripartite-alliance disrupted the agenda of council through Samwu members breaching the Sammy Marks chamber building violently and aggressively, and the ANC councillors inside the chamber abusing the rules to delay council business. Samwu members hurled stones and missiles at law enforcement outside the Tshwane council meeting, and provoked them. Police had to use stun grenades to disperse the violent attack on the council sitting.”
Selfe argued that the actions undermined democracy and “exposed the ANC’s true colours as a party of lawlessness”.
“The ANC cannot accept its electoral defeat at the hands of the DA in the major Metros, and has nothing left to offer but chaos and disorder. The conduct of the ANC today was a disgrace.”
He said the council agendas were in the process of being completed.