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Councillor fired for attacking a member of the public with a machete fails to have his axing overturned

04 June 2022 - 12:04
Siyabulela Malawu in the Makhanda high court, where his latest attempt to be reinstated as a councillor was dismissed.
Siyabulela Malawu in the Makhanda high court, where his latest attempt to be reinstated as a councillor was dismissed.
Image: Twitter/Siyabulela Malawu

A councillor fired for attacking a member of the public with a machete in a council chamber has failed in his legal bid to have his dismissal overturned.  

A full bench of the high court in Makhanda dismissed Siyabulela Malawu’s appeal on Tuesday.

Eastern Cape co-operative governance MEC Xolile Nqatha fired Malawu, a former Amahlathi Municipality ANC councillor, in 2020.

Malawu, who faced a slew of allegations in 2018 and 2019, failed to co-operate with Nqatha’s investigation.

The former councillor was accused of, among other things, being a ring leader in mobilising councillors to “sabotage and not attend council meetings”.

Malawu allegedly “attacked the member of the public with the machete inside the council chamber during the council meeting” where Nqatha’s predecessor was presenting a departmental “support plan”.

He allegedly doled out council jobs “only to comrades from his ward”, frustrated community projects and publicly ridiculed an administrator appointed to run the municipality.

Malawu allegedly took to social media and defamed a traditional leader and “utilised the letterhead of the municipal manager to communicate serious municipal issues without being authorised to do so”.

The speaker of the council was not spared. “Malawu continued to send threatening messages to the speaker,” said judge president Selby Mbenenge.

Shortly after he was fired, Malawu launched an urgent high court bid to interdict Nqatha from removing him from office pending the finalisation of a review application he had instituted. The review was dismissed in November 2020.

The Supreme Court of Appeal referred the matter to the full bench of the court after the judge who dismissed Malawu’s application refused him leave to appeal.

The full bench heard that Malawu used a number of technicalities to avoid the investigation that Nqatha instituted.

Malawu was not re-elected during the November 2021 local government elections but still pursued the matter.

Nqathi argued that the matter was “moot between the parties and will have no practical effect or result”.

Mbenenge dismissed the appeal with costs.

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