Speaker of the Joe Gqabi District Municipality in the Eastern Cape Themba Notyeke is in hot water, facing criminal charges and an imminent investigation by the Commission on Gender Equality (GCE) after he allegedly pushed a female fellow African National Congress member during an altercation that broke out during an ANC meeting.
The unnamed woman has also since laid criminal charges against Notyeke. This after a video showing Notyeke allegedly pushing the woman, who is said to have fallen against a table, has been doing the rounds on social media. However, the video is not good quality and it is hard to establish exactly what occurred during the incident.
Watch the video below:
The video also showed the woman first kicking someone before she was pushed away by Notyeke and fell. The altercation happened among ANC members who disagreed over a party regional list in Aliwal North more than a fortnight ago.
The municipality, formerly the Ukhahlamba District Municipality, comprises of the Elundini, Senqu and Walter Sisulu local municipalities in the northern part of the Eastern Cape.
The Democratic Alliance Women’s Network (Dawn) federal leader, Nomafrench Mbombo, vowed that her organisation would take up the matter on behalf of the affected women.
“This treatment is blatant and sexist abuse by a person known to be arrogant and dismissive during council meetings. It is untenable that a person in his position gets away with treating a woman this way,” Mbombo said.
She said Dawn had reported the matter to the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) which they asked to make recommendations on appropriate further steps and action against Notyeke. The organisation was also considering laying criminal charges against the speaker.
“South Africa needs the kind of change that protects women and children, and ensures those found guilty of abusing women and children are held accountable,” Mbombo said.
DA caucus leader at the municipality Marina Van Zyl had submitted a motion in the council in Barkley East proposing for the attack by Notyeke to be referred to the council’s rules and ethics committee.
In the motion, Van Zyl called for the council to remove Notyeke from the position.
“If the speaker is found guilty, he should be removed as he would no longer be fit to lead the council. We are heading into Women’s Month in August, and the DA condemns any violence, especially towards women and children. Such behaviour by a public representative should not be ignored and left unpunished,” she said.
Van Zyl confirmed to The Citizen the motion had been accepted by the council without resistance, and the municipal manager told her it would be reported in the next council meeting.
According to the DA leader, the district municipality has an unemployment rate of 65 percent. While its core function was water and sanitation, 48 percent of the area had pit toilets.
“There is a huge sanitation backlog in this municipality,” Van Zyl said.
Neither Notyeke nor the municipal spokesperson were available for comment.