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Africa

Call for suspension of Knysna DA councillor Sharon Sabbagh

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The African National Congress (ANC) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Knysna in the Western Cape have called for the suspension of a DA councillor for allegedly using a derogatory term on fellow councillors at a recent council meeting.

The parties have called on the Speaker of Knysna’s council, to investigate a breach of councillors conduct by Sharon Sabbagh, who is also the DA Chief Whip. In a statement, both parties said the comments were degrading and disrespectful and that Sabbagh should face the full might of the law.

Both parties called the offensive utterance racially painful, degrading and disrespectful, saying it was reminiscent of the apartheid attitude towards the indigenous people of this country.

“Speaker, you got to teach Matika how to manage a meeting, or are we are going to have a yappa yappa monkey circus going on here? Who you calling a monkey? Who are you calling a monkey? I’m not calling anybody a monkey. So which monkey was talking here Sabbagh?,” interaction at the meeting.

The ANC says it wants action taken against the councilor.

“She had enough time when councilors showed they had a displeasure with what she was saying to retract her statement but rather she continued with those utterances. In fact, insinuating that her fellow colleagues who are councillors are monkeys and referred to herself as a baboon. So, we are very disappointed and not surprised with her utterances, taking into account there was a case against [Penny] Sparrow around the issue of referring to black people as monkeys,” says Moyisi Magalela, ANC Regional Spokesperson.

“As the EFF we strongly condemn this behaviour by Sharon, and we have called for her immediate removal. Her conduct has angered black people thus causing crimen injuria and as a party we have written to the SA Human Rights Commission, calling for them to investigate her with immediate effect,” says Wandile Kasibe, EFF Provincial Spokesperson.

Responding to the incident, the DA defended their councillor.

“The councillor’s comments have been misconstrued and shamefully used to deflect voter’s attention from the destruction the ANC/PA/EFF coalition caused in Knysna as a result of their absolute failure to deliver services to residents, especially to lower income households. From a water crisis, with large parts of the town either without water or undrinkable water flowing from taps; to a waste management crisis, with a growing pile of refuse at the waste removal site in the centre of town; to raw sewerage spills into the lagoon; to a serious financial crisis,” says Tertuis Simmers, DA Provincial Leader.

The EFF has also opened a case of crimen injuria with SAPS.

The office of the Speaker of the Knysna Council is investigating the matter.

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