Fight on for city mayor

2011-04-13 00:00

FORMER Msunduzi mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo and her deputy, Mervyn Dirks — who were booted out as heads of the embattled municipality — did not make the ANC’s final candidate list for the May 18 elections.

The lists for the Msunduzi and Umgungundlovu District municipalities were flighted on the Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) website yesterday evening along with the names of all the parties’ candidates for local government wards and proportional representation positions.

Also absent from the list is former executive committee (Exco) member Themba Zungu, who was also removed from the council with Hlatshwayo and Dirks when the municipality was put under administration by KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube in May last year.

The three have been blamed for the municipality’s downfall.

All three were nominated by branches for the proportional representatives (PR) list, but failed to make the cut apparently after screening by the party’s provincial executive committee.

High up on the PR list are two names that have been touted as possible mayoral candidates. They are Thobani Reginald Zuma, who is number one on the list, and Chris Ndlela who is number three.

Zuma is currently the ward three councillor in the Vulindlela area and the regional executive committee member of the ANC in the Moses Mabhida region.

Ndlela is the principal of Esther Payne School in Northdale. He is the KZN chairperson of the Congress of South African Trade Unions and chairperson of the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union in the province.

Another strong contender for the Msunduzi mayoral position, according to sources, is a member of the provincial legislature, Sipho Gcabashe. He is a former provincial secretary of the ANC.

Other candidates high on the list include Msunduzi’s Deputy Mayor, Jabu Ngubo, who is number two on the list, and the Mayor himself, Mike Tarr, who is number 12.

Council speaker Babu Baijoo is number five on the list.

Baijoo’s predecessor, Alpha Shelembe, who was in a camp in opposition to Hlatshwayo in the municipality before they were both removed from their posts, is number eight on the list. Shelembe was demoted from speaker to an ordinary councillor during MEC Dube’s intervention.

Rachel Soobiah is at number 11 on the PR list. Soobiah is an alleged to be running an illegal boarding house and has been the subject of an alleged fraud probe.

Soobiah’s husband, Clinton, was convicted alongside four others of rape in 1993 and was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment. He appealed against the conviction but lost his appeal in 1994.

The Witness reported recently that angry ANC members have questioned how Soobiah, who is openly flouting council by-laws, will be expected to enforce them and be an example to other citizens.

Most of the candidates on the PR list are relative newcomers.

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