Ward committee meeting ends in chaos as blows fly

A WARD committee conference for the Polokwane municipality ended in chaos at the weekend when members allegedly exchanged blows following disagreements.

The meeting took place at a lodge outside Polokwane from Friday to Sunday. Matters came to a head on Sunday when the members allegedly disagreed on certain issues.

It is claimed that this also resulted in executive mayor Thabo Makunyane insulting members of ward committees.

He allegedly told them they were "just volunteers" when they sought clarity on their status, given that they worked without pay for their services.

Makunyane had also reportedly failed to respond to a list of demands from the ward committee members.

They wanted a response before the conference regarding a number of demands, which also included knowing their status.

After Makunyane's utterances, an altercation broke out between municipal security guards, Makunyane's body guards, and some ward councillors, who allegedly started attacking members who had disagreed with them.

Hardest hit was Ivan Setsiba, a member of ward 26 in Mankweng.

Setsiba was allegedly beaten with all sorts of objects in full view of other members. Women councillors also allegedly took part in the assault.

Police were called in to arrest Setsiba when the members alleged it was him who broke the lodge utensils.

Setsiba yesterday made a brief appearance in the Polokwane magistrate's court, which dropped the charges against him for lack of evidence. He later opened counter-charges against Makunyane, two councillors and two security guards.

"I still don't know why I was attacked in such a manner," he said.