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DA councillors suspended

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"The accused must come clear and take the people, especially her church members into her confidence by telling them the truth"

Police are investigating a case of assault and two cases of crimen injuria, against the wife of DA provincial leader Andrew Louw.

THREE DA councillors, including the wife of DA provincial leader Andrew Louw – Mariam Louw, along with Elize Niemann and Eleanor Badenhorst, have been suspended following an altercation that took place on August 24, while they were travelling in a bus, en route from Kimberley to attend a course at the University of Fort Hare, in East London.

The councillors laid criminal charges and counter charges against each other.

The matter was yesterday referred to the DA Federal Legal Council for investigation.

During the incident, Niemann and Badenhorst were allegedly sworn at, assaulted and accused of cheating on their husbands while Mariam Louw was apparently threatened with a knife.

Charges of crimen injuria and assault were opened against Louw while Badenhorst was apparently taken to the police cells in East London yesterday and later released.

In a Facebook post, Louw claimed that allegations levelled against her were “full of lies and prejudice”.

She pointed out that she was “almost stabbed with an okapi knife” during the incident.

“She was arrested. The accused must come clear and take the people, especially her church members into her confidence by telling them the truth . . . why she wanted to stab me . . . she must come clear. I hope my story will be covered . . . hope to see a full page covered . . . I’m not one of your pals.”

DA caucus leader, Christopher Phiri, said he collected Badenhorst from the police station yesterday after the police came looking for her at the university, where she was attending classes.

“She was released from custody yesterday.”

He indicated that the DA councillors would be returning home tomorrow.

DA provincial chairperson, Harold McGluwa, confirmed that all three councillors had been suspended.

He explained that they would remain on suspension, pending the outcome of the federal legal council (FLC) investigation.

“I am not in a position to say what charges will be laid against them, as it will be determined by the FLC, if it finds there is a case for disciplinary hearing.”

McGluwa added that following a provincial executive committee meeting that was held yesterday, it was decided that the matter be referred to the federal chairperson for investigation by the Federal Legal Council.

“The FLC will investigate whether there is merit in the complaints against the councillors concerned. The process in entirely in the hands of the FLC, and I am convinced that the party will leave no stone unturned in dealing with this matter.”

McGluwa indicated that their members would not be recalled from their studies.

“The course falls under the jurisdiction of Sol Plaatje Municipality and not the DA. Accordingly, the DA councillors will not be recalled.”

He added that he was not aware of reports that Louw was apparently hiding from the police after charges were laid against her.

“As you know the members are at the University of Fort Hare and for this reason that I am not aware of what happened. I can confirm that Louw did open a criminal case and also lodged a complaint with the DA.”

Meanwhile the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education, Science and Technology yesterday expressed concern over protest action at the University of Fort Hare that has disrupted the academic programme.

Chairperson of the committee, Mohlopi Mapulanehe, said the major road leading to the town of Alice was blocked while students protested over the allocation of National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding and allowances as well as other grievances.

It was also reported that students had slaughtered two cows that were grazing on the university premises.