City council revolt

2011-06-07 00:00

ANC alliance partners have openly rebelled against the appointment of Msunduzi Deputy Mayor, Alpha Shelembe and council Speaker, Zonke Mbatha, saying that the ruling party’s decision to deploy the two has left them “baffled”.

First to voice their disagreement with the appointments was Cosatu in KwaZulu-Natal. Addressing the media in Durban yesterday after the federation’s special provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting , Cosatu said that it was “quite disappointed and baffled by the decision of the ANC to re-invite the same comrades who were party to the collapse of the municipality”.

Msunduzi municipal workers affiliated with the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) have threatened to show their unhappiness about Shelembe and Mbatha’s appointments by staging an indefinite strike that will apparently cripple service delivery such as refuse collection, electricity and water supply.

A Samwu local member, who wished not to be named for fear of victimisation, said that starting tomorrow workers will go slow and that by Thursday or Friday there would be a decision on when the strike will take place.

Cosatu provincial secretary Zet Luzipo said the deputy mayor’s and speaker’s appointments leave much to be desired, and affect the federation and the public at large. “This flies in the face of our collective alliance decision not to consider any of those who were involved in the collapse of that municipality. This reflects very little, if any, commitment to clean government and the fight against corruption. We understood that commitment being about ensuring that we start on a clean state, but this is nothing else but a case of an old wine in a new bottle,” said Luzipo.

The PEC also gave full support to the chairperson, Chris Ndlela, who is Msunduzi’s new mayor, said Luzipo, adding that Cosatu is convinced that he will require it.

“[Chris] is the only person [appointed in Msunduzi] who enjoys public legitimacy … If anything happens in that municipality, of which as Cosatu we will not be surprised, people must rest assured that this time around it will not be our chairperson who will become a sacrificial lamb …” he said.

Luzipo said that the union federation will have to review its participation in the deployment committee, which discussed the appointment, because its views are not heard. “The leadership of the ANC in this province did not have the courtesy to interact with its alliance components when it was reversing its own decision it had canvassed with us.

“Unfortunately, we are left [with] no option this time around but to side with our members and the public at large …”

Luzipo said the alliance was part of the decision to dissolve the council executive committee (Exco), remove the speaker, mayor and deputy mayor when the administration was imposed on the municipality. He added that the federation has further agreed to engage with its structures on other deployments that were just forced through without due recognition of their controversial nature — these include the appointments at the uMgungundlovu District municipality.

“We are willing to meet with the leadership of the ANC, but as an independent formation, we will not beg for a seat at the meeting. These appointments have completely undermined unity and cohesion of the alliance in the province, they are absolutely gender insensitive …”said Luzipo.

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