Mike Tarr rumoured to be preferred candidate to take over as city mayor

2010-03-24 00:00

RUMOURS that Mike Tarr, an ANC member of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, is the preferred candidate to take over as mayor of the Msunduzi Municipality are gaining momentum at city hall.

According to sources who wish not to be named, the provincial working committee (PWC) of the ANC did not meet as reported on Sunday. Instead, the meeting was postponed until further notice. Tarr has apparently been tipped as the candidate to be picked as the political head of the embattled municipality.

However, these claims were vehemently denied by the ANC, and its provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala, would not be drawn on when the party will announce its choice. Zikalala said on Monday that the ANC is “not an issue-driven organisation”, and the PWC will meet according to its schedule to discuss the matter of the mayor among other issues.

Msunduzi councillors, who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, said they suspect the new mayor will be named tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the rumour mill at the city hall is also fuelling speculation about who will replace former deputy mayor Mervyn Dirks and ex-speaker Alpha Shelembe.

According to sources, the deputy mayor may be someone within the municipality who will be there for ceremonial purposes and the speaker may be a candidate preferred by the ANC alliance partners.

Attempts to get comment from Tarr were not successful as his cellphone rang unanswered.

Tarr, who chairs the public accounts committee and is a member of the finance portfolio committee, is set to retire from the legislature at the end of this month.

He previously represented the Progressive Federal Party, Democratic Party and Inkatha Freedom Party before joining the ANC. He lives in Hilton.

Opposition parties in the council accused the ANC of dragging their feet over the announcement.

IFP caucus leader Dolo Zondi said the ANC should have announced the replacements of those recalled earlier as the city needs leadership.

 

“It’s not healthy for the city. Why are they dragging their feet?”

Zondi said his party has yet to formally nominate its mayoral candidate.

DA caucus leader Bill Lambert was unhappy over a media report yesterday that stated the new mayor will have the power to elect the deputy mayor and the council speaker.

“It’s factually not correct on two counts. Firstly, the party can only nominate a candidate because full council has the power to appoint the mayor.

“Secondly, to say it’s the mayor’s prerogative to appoint the deputy and the speaker is also incorrect because only full council can do this,” he said.

Lambert has been nominated as his party’s mayoral candidate.

The ANC’s other reported candidate for the position is former deputy mayor and SA Local Government Association official Makhosi Khoza.

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