Shelembe: communists and Cosatu plan rolling mass protests in city

2011-06-09 00:00

THE growing unhappiness over the appointment of Alpha Shelembe and Zonke Mbatha as Msunduzi deputy mayor and speaker respectively has prompted the ANC’s local alliance partners to threaten to embark on a rolling mass action calling on the ANC to remove the two from their new council posts.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday, local Cosatu and South African Communist Party (SACP) office bearers said that starting today they will be joining forces with leaders of the South African Workers’ Union (Samwu) to start demonstrations expressing their unhappiness about the deployment of Shelembe and Mbatha.

The secretary of Cosatu’s local branch, Zimasile Giyama, said they will be picketing today at the Royal Showgrounds where the inauguration of the uMgungundlovu district mayor is to be held.

The picketing will precede other planned actions that will culminate in a massive march next week, he added.

He said the labour federation is against deployment of any corrupt or allegedly corrupt leader to lead government at any level.

The secretary of the SACP in uMgungundlovu district, Mathew Ndlovu, said his party will join all the actions against the deployments.

The members will not keep quiet about the deployment of Shelembe, who, he said, is under a cloud.

Ndlovu was referring to the charges Shelembe faces with businessman Lucky Moloi and former Msunduzi executive committee member Themba Zungu of allegedly colluding to persuade the uMgungundlovu District Municipality to purchase the MIB building in Langalibalele Street in 2003 at an inflated price of R6 850 000.

It is also alleged that Shelembe, Zungu and local property agent Neville Watts shared the R1 million “commission” between them.

Shelembe appeared in court on Tuesday.

“If we are going to be quiet we might as well close up shop,” said Ndlovu.

KZN Samwu chairperson John Dlamini said the union has taken a decision to push for the removal of councillors whose failure to exercise their oversight role led to the near collapse of Msunduzi Municipality.

“We condemn the redeployments and we will engage the ANC on them,” he said.

The rolling mass action will culminate in a march on Thursday next week and Cosatu’s Giyama said that they will extend invitations to all residents of the city to join in expressing their unhappiness about the deployments.

“People of the city have expressed the desire to join us, including ANC structures who are incensed”, said Giyama.

The ANC regional secretary, Super Zuma, reiterated the ANC province’s statement that the ruling party will engage with Cosatu and SACP within the alliance structures about their concerns.

THE ANC Youth League in the Moses Mabhida region has defended the deployment of Shelembe and Mbath, saying that the ruling party process to appoint them was followed properly.

The league’s regional chairperson, Fana Lembethe, said the alliance partners should lay off Shelembe and Mbatha, and rather raise their concerns through legitimate structures.

Lembethe said the youth league trusts the ANC’s decision to appoint Shelembe and Mbatha to their new posts and that it has faith in them. “We are fully behind their deployment.”

He urged Msunduzi workers not to down tools, but to continue to observe their responsibility of service delivery to the residents.

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