EFF holds municipal manager hostage
Khaya Magenu, The Witness
Pietermaritzburg - Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters stormed the office of the Greater Kokstad municipal manager on Monday, holding him hostage.
They said they were “sick and tired of corrupt councillors and managers” at the municipality, and threatened that the municipal manager, Zamo Mkhize, would “sleep in his office” if their demands to see all corruption investigation reports were not met.
A visibly shaken Mkhize called his managers to come and rescue him, but they were chased away by the EFF members.
The municipality came to a standstill for four hours as EFF members interrogated the municipal manager.
They surrounded his desk while others forced him to stand up and phone his managers to tell them he was being held hostage.
They said they wanted Mkhize, councillors and other managers to resign with immediate effect.
Kokstad police were called in but the Port Shepstone Public Order policing unit was later called in for back-up as the defiant EFF members proved to be uncontrollable.
Accusing managers at the municipality of failing in their duties and saying that the municipality was bankrupt as a result, they howled and shouted at Mkhize and vowed not to release him. One of the EFF members even sat on his chair, ordering him to stand up and obey the rules.
They chanted political songs and banged on his desk. Mkhize was unable to answer their questions as the EFF members jeered at him whenever he tried to speak.
Kokstad police and municipal traffic officers who tried to rescue Mkhize were chased away.
The EFF accused corporate services manager Thandazani Makhoba, chief financial officer Nolubabalo Gqola, Mayor Nosisa Jojozi and Deputy Mayor Bheki Mtolo of doing business with the municipality.
Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said he checked the Kokstad Police station crime administration system and no related incident had been registered late on Monday. No one was arrested.
Meanwhile, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube condemned the EFF’s actions.
“Our hard-won democracy offers political parties and individuals ample opportunity to express their views. But doing so while infringing on the rights of others and crippling democratically elected institutions of government cannot be one of them,” she said.
“It is a calculated move to cause further instability. The EFF’s so called demands bring nothing new to the table. The actions of the EFF at Kokstad, are not an isolated incident judging by this political party’s conduct in Parliament but part of a well-orchestrated campaign to render public institutions ungovernable.
“We will be analysing this incident with the police and we vow that there will be consequences for breaking the law.”