WATCH | Tensions flare at Durban city hall during full council meeting
The eThekwini municipality’s full council sitting was disrupted by a near-scuffle on Thursday.
Video footage posted to Twitter by DA caucus leader Nicole Graham showed some council members in a heated exchange.
Graham claimed that ANC councillors aligned to embattled mayor Zandile Gumede tried to prevent city manager Sipho Nzuza from being present at the meeting.
Nzuza has reportedly turned state witness against Gumede, who has been placed on 30 days' leave.
Gumede, senior councillor Mondli Mthembu and businessman Craig Poonan were charged in mid-May for graft relating to a R208m Durban Solid Waste contract dating back to 2016.
Chaos has erupted in the #durbancouncil chamber. It seems several Gumede-aligned ANC Councillors don’t want the City Manager (who has turned state witness) to be here. It almost got physical and the CM’s bodyguards had to surround him and the Speaker. pic.twitter.com/PpSPK2jKR3— Nicole Graham (@NicoleGraham031) June 27, 2019
The case against Gumede, Mthembu, Poonan and several others is expected to proceed in August.
Graham’s post read: "Chaos erupted in the #durbancouncil chamber. It seems several Gumede-aligned ANC councillors don’t want the City Manager (who has turned state witness) to be here. It almost got physical and the CM’s bodyguards had to surround him and the speaker."
In recent weeks, busloads of Gumede supporters clashed with police outside the ANC headquarters where they called for her to be reinstated.
Municipal spokesperson Mandla Nsele, who was at the council meeting, said he watched the entire video clip and "didn’t see a part where CM (city manger) is prevented from entering the council".
Earlier in the day, councillors were prevented from entering or exiting the Durban city hall by protesters. This was related to a refuse-removal tender in Umlazi.