VEREENIGING. – Midvaal Executive Mayor Bongani Baloyi was arrested on Saturday and charged with assault. He was then released on R 500 bail before he made his first appearance at Vereeniging Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
According to the DA, Baloyi and two Midvaal officials were treated for minor injuries after being assaulted by ANC protestors during an Arbour Day event at Savanna City.
The event is said to have started peacefully after residents welcomed Baloyi and officials who were meant to plant trees in the newly developed area. However, it was apparently disrupted when a group dressed in ANC regalia and holding an official party banner began harassing Baloyi and his Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMC’s). Baloyi was apparently pushed and hit with a rock.
The DA said that, after being treated, the Mayor was transported to the De Deur Police Station where a case of malicious damage to property and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was opened. However, it was subsequently discovered that the key suspect had followed Baloyi to the police station, where he opened a counter assault case against Baloyi. When Baloyi made his appearance on Monday, the court was crowded with ANC and DA members who were kept at a distance from each other by Police.
ANC Sedibeng issued a statement that said: “African National Congress notes and welcomes the provisional withdrawal of the alleged assault charges between the Executive Mayor of Midvaal Local Municipality and a Savanna City community member held at the Vereeniging Magistrates Court today.
“The incident happened on Saturday at Savanna City during a tree-planting ceremony that was part of Arbour Day as organised with the service provider – Basil Reed. It is now common knowledge that the event was turned into a political rally of the Democratic Alliance, which the community rejected and instead demanded answers to the unending empty promises of the electrification of their homes since their construction.”
The ANC further said that it views this legal process as a platform to test social justice versus abuse of political power, “the suffering of the defenseless versus a prominent leader in society.”
On the other hand the SACP said the Midvaal Executive Mayor must be prosecuted for assault, as he assaulted an SACP member at a public gathering
“The SACP Vaal District is astonished by the assault of its member and former branch secretary of the SACP in Midvaal sub district Cde Rembuluwani Malange by Midvaal Executive Mayor Bongani “Boxer” Baloyi.”