Judge calls for meeting over ‘logjam’ in Amajuba

2010-01-26 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG High Court Judge Trevor Gorven yesterday instructed the Amajuba District Council to convene another meeting this Thursday to consider a vote of no confidence in the speaker, Peter Croft, and included measures to ensure there cannot be any manipulation of the vote.

This follows the murder at the weekend of Federal Congress (Fedcon) councillor Thejiwe Buthelezi (66) of Madadeni, who was shot four times in the head on Sunday. It came in the wake of a highly charged meeting held on Friday to vote on the very same issue.

Political tensions are running high within the council, which has been split almost equally between a DA and IFP alliance (to which mayor Mkhulu Mlangeni and Croft are aligned) and the ANC and Fedcon.

Although Buthelezi was a Fedcon member, she represented the Royal Loyal Progress (RLP) party on the district council in terms of an agreement between Fedcon and the RLP.

Buthelezi held a crucial deciding vote if a full complement of 25 councillors participated in voting.

During yesterday’s high court hearing, Advocate Laurence Broster SC, for the MEC for Local Government and Traditional Affairs, Nomusa Dube, expressed the MEC’s fears for the safety of councillors at Amajuba, and urged the court to allow a “cooling-off period” before ano­ther meeting is held.

“The MEC feels that the situation is out of control,” said Broster.

He said she feared that everyone in the community “knows what the numbers are in this area” (referring to the votes) and were aware of the murder following Friday’s ill-fated meeting

The MEC is therefore concerned that another meeting so soon could prove to “be the match to the tinder box”, he added.

He suggested issues such as service delivery and the requirement that the council holds a budget meeting before the end of the month, should take second place to the “real fear for the safety of the people on this council”.

Judge Gorven said he understood the MEC’s views, but questioned how long matters could be “put on ice”.

He said the sooner a valid vote was taken, the sooner the existing “logjam” in council could be resolved.

ingrido@witness.co.za

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