Cape Times

Knysna councillor to face music for ‘monkeys’ crack

- CHEVON BOOYSEN Chevon.booysen@inl.co.za

WHILE police and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) have launched probes following comments allegedly made by Knysna ward councillor Sharon Sabbagh referring to fellow councillor­s as “monkeys”, the Knysna municipali­ty is also taking action.

Sabbagh is accused of breach of conduct, with Knysna Municipali­ty speaker Mncedisi Skosana saying Sabbagh will now face a formal procedure in accordance with the Local Government Municipal Structures Act.

He said he has initiated formal procedures following “reasonable suspicion of a breach of conduct”.

Skosana said according to the act he is “obliged to authorise an investigat­ion into the facts and circumstan­ces surroundin­g the alleged breach” and is in the process of appointing an independen­t investigat­or.

“The findings will be presented before the council in an open meeting, as mandated by the code of conduct.”

The process will also allow Sabbagh an opportunit­y to respond to the allegation­s, after which a report will be made to the municipal council.

The EFF called for the removal of Sabbagh and reported the incident to the SAHRC and police after Sabbagh is alleged to have said “we are gonna have a yeppa-yeppa monkey circus going on here” during a council meeting.

DA Knysna constituen­cy head Dion George previously said the alleged comments by Sabbagh were “misconstru­ed”.

Further enquiries to Sabbagh and DA were not answered by deadline.

Police spokespers­on Malcolm Pojie said a case of crimen injuria is under investigat­ion.

“Preliminar­y informatio­n suggests a councillor of an opposition party called the complainan­t, also a councillor, a derogatory name during a working session in the chambers in Knysna, during a debate … The docket will be submitted to the NPA for a decision once investigat­ion is completed.”

SAHRC provincial manager Zena Nair said: “The assessment of the complaint has commenced.

“The commission notes that the statement is alleged to have been made during a council meeting and the statements made may be covered by the immunity councillor­s and members of legislatur­es enjoy while performing their functions.”

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