Councillor accused of assault

DA Ward 61 councillor Simon Liell-Cock

By Yolande Du Preez

DA ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock is the subject of a police investigation after he allegedly assaulted a Patriotic Alliance candidate at a polling station on Sunday.

PA Ward 61 candidate Aslam Richards claims Mr Liell-Cock assaulted him at the Da Gama Park voting station after he accused Mr Liell-Cock of breaking election rules by wearing a DA T-shirt inside the voting station where special votes were being cast.

Mr Richards said he and PA proportional representation (PR) candidate Brendon Kindo had visited the station to take refreshments to their colleagues.

According to Mr Richards, Mr Liell-Cock swore at him when he told him he was breaking the rules, and Mr Richards then threatened to take a picture of Mr Liell-Cock in his T-shirt and send it to the IEC.

“I had my phone in my hand, and he came up to me and tried to kick the phone out of my hand. I blocked his kick, and he kicked my arm. He then pushed me hard with both hands. The police came and broke it up,” Mr Richards said.

He subsequently open a case of assault.

He said he was “shocked” and felt like he was being targeted by the DA for doing his job.

In March last year, mayor Dan Plato told Mr Richards to “shut up” when he asked the mayor a question about having a meeting with him regarding a housing development, during a walkabout in Ocean View. Ocean View residents were outraged and called for Mr Plato to apologise or resign.

“This is the second incident where I have been abused by the DA, and it’s a sad state of affairs,” Mr Richards said.

According to the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC), electoral laws prohibit officials and party agents from wearing any party-affiliated clothing or regalia inside a voting station on election day. However, they are free to wear political party-affiliated clothing on any other day.

Mr Liell-Cock declined to comment when asked if he had assaulted Mr Richards. He said had given a statement to the police.

The City of Cape Town said the matter was under investigation, and the speaker’s office was not in a position to comment at this stage.

National SAPS spokesman Brigadier Vish Naidoo confirmed that a case had been opened and that the matter was being investigated. However, he added, Mr Liell-Cock had not been formally charged and no court date had been set yet.

The incident is not Mr Liell-Cock’s first brush with the law.

In 2016, he faced assault charges after he was accused of kicking Michael Kerr and breaking his arm, during a brawl over a parking space.

Mr Kerr said he had wanted to take his frail wife to the shops at lunchtime that day when he found Mr Liell-Cock had parked him in with his Land Rover. He confronted Mr Liell-Cock who then allegedly refused to move his vehicle.

According to National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila, the trial ran its course and Mr Liell-Cock was acquitted.