Shelembe was formerly an IFP activist

2011-06-20 00:00

ALPHA Shelembe is reportedly from the KwaShifu area near Howick. He was born a twin and his twin brother Omega Shelembe was a senior manager within the Treasury and was at some stage employed as the Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Ithala Bank.

During the political violence of the late 1980s and early 1990s that engulfed most areas in the KZN midlands, he was a well-known IFP supporter and surprised most ANC activists when he became an ANC councillor in Pietermaritzburg in the mid-1990s during the introduction of the Transitional Local Councils (TLCs).

One of those people who echoed their surprises at the appointment of Shelembe as an ANC councillor, was the late former ANC Youth League provincial chairperson and MP Isaiah Ntshangase who originally came from the KwaHhaza/KwaShifu area.

According to ANC activist and former uMsunduzi councillor, Sbongile Mkhize it was a known fact that Shelembe was recruited from the IFP and as ANC councillors in Msunduzi, they had no problem working with him.

Ironically, Mkhize, who is participating in the three-week old sit-in protest at the ANC office, is now in the forefront of a campaign to remove Shelembe from his newly-appointed position as Msunduzi Deputy Mayor.

After becoming a councillor, Shelembe climbed the ladder of success within the ANC until he became a member of the executive committee (Exco) in the uMgungundlovu district council and during the last term of councillors, he was the Speaker of the Msunduzi municipality, a position he occupied until being demoted to an ordinary councillor after the collapse of the Msunduzi municipality last year.

In a move that angered some ANC supporters and the ANC’s alliance partners, after the 2011 elections Shelembe was appointed as deputy mayor despite an undertaking that the ANC was not going to appoint to any positions councillors who were part of the team that led to the collapse of Msunduzi.

His appointment and that of Msunduzi Speaker Zonke Mbatha sparked off a series of vociferous protests with the most recent being the Friday march organised by the trade union federation Cosatu.

The protesters are demanding his removal before the end of June or they will “render uMsunduzi municipality ungovernable”.

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