They were in a jovial mood, expectantly eyeing out the heaps of food laid out to celebrate their successful launch of the Du Noon Development Forum that morning.
Suddenly the door burst open and the ward councilor, together with a mob of about 50 Sanco members, stormed into the room.
The tables were kicked over, plates of chicken, potatoes, rice and beef sent flying and cooking pots overturned, wasting R5 000 worth of food sponsored by Chevron for the launch party.
The furious Du Noon Development Forum (DDF) members – about 150 strong and mostly women -furiously turned on the intruders.
Grabbing sjamboks and chairs, they attacked ward councilor Peace Stemela and chased his mob out.
Stemela had to be whisked away by police who had arrived on the scene shortly after the fracas erupted at 2pm on Saturday.
This was the scenario described by Du Noon Advice Centre field worker Nombuyiselo Ngali as she sat, angry, still hungry and holding her sjamboks, on the steps of the resource centre.
As she recounted the tale, three police vans still parked outside the building, one of them with its passenger window smashed.
“They (Sanco members and ward councilor) were fighting us DDF members and we fought back,” said Ngali.
She said police had to fire rubber bullets into the air to stop the two groups fighting.
By 3 pm the Sanco members had regrouped near Stemela’s shack in Thembeni squatter camp and broke a window in a shack belonging to a DDF member.
Meanwhile, more than 100 DDF members had started searching for their attackers, and when they met near Stemela’s shack, violence was only averted thanks to 20 cops who were already at the scene.
Stemela, huddled in his shack and surrounded by his bodyguards, had to be hauled out by the cops for questioning and was later seen getting into a police car and writing his statement.
Addressing the Sanco members later, he said the DDF had received R50 000 from the city and he and Sanco members went to the resource centre where they were prevented from joining in the celebrations, and attacked.
Du Noon Sanco branch chairman Andile Peter, said as a councilor, Stemela was invited to the luncheon, but when he went there “they decided to assault him”.
“Even now he (Stemela) has a wound on his head. Those people ( DDF members) are professional liars, they do wrong things and run to the police station, one day we’ll catch up with them,” said Peter.
He said it was DDF members that has smashed the window of the police van outside the resource centre, but admitted that his members had broken the window of a shack belonging to a DDF member.
Commenting on the matter on Tuesday (February 23), Blaauwberg Sub-council chair Heather Brenner said while attending the launch of the DDF at the Civic Centre on Saturday morning, they had received reports that Stemela was “stirring unrest” in Du Noon.
Stemela’s behavior, Brenner said, was “shameful” and had put the City council in “disrepute”.
“What he is doing is political posturing.
She said the sub-council would be lodging a complaint to the speaker of the City of Cape Town about his behavior.
After being contacted on Monday, Milnerton police had not responded to queries by end of day Tuesday.