Tarr turmoil

2011-06-17 00:00

DAMAGE control by the ANC saw former Msunduzi mayor Mike Tarr withdraw the public declaration of his resignation as a councillor on Wednesday, hours after he first made the announcement.

Tarr sent out the announcement of his resignation at 10.30 in the morning only to withdraw it just after 3 pm.

In the intervening time it was announced at a full Msunduzi council sitting in the afternoon that he is the new chairperson of the standing committee of public accounts (Scopa).

It is believed that political pressure was put on Tarr to remain a councillor in the face of the crisis facing the ANC in the Moses Mabhida (Pietermaritzburg) region.

There is an uproar at the appointment of the treasurer of the ANC’s regional executive committee (REC), Alpha Shelembe, as deputy mayor of Msunduzi .

Shelembe was further implicated in a court case on Wednesday when an arsonist fingered him as the person behind the fire that took place on the weekend at the ANC’s REC offices in Jabu Ndlovu Street.

ANC insiders are surprised that Tarr withdrew his resignation, saying he was badly treated and a victim of the REC’s power play.

Tarr’s anger at the manner in which he was rebuffed and manipulated was reflected in his resignation letter.

With Chris Ndlela as the popular choice for mayor, Tarr was told that he would be on the executive committee (Exco) in the municipality.

However, half-an-hour before the announcement, he — along with Babu Baijoo, who was to be the speaker — learnt that their positions had been usurped.

Tarr was dropped from Exco and Baijoo was dropped as speaker and made an ordinary Exco member.

To everyone’s surprise at the inauguration, Shelembe was named as the new deputy mayor and Zonke Mbatha the new speaker.

Tarr was then told that he would be on the Exco of the uMgungundlovu District Municipality.

ANC insiders present at the district council inauguration said they saw the shock on Tarr’s face when his name was not called out as part of the Exco team. He was rebuffed for a second time and nobody had informed him of the changes.

In his withdrawn resignation letter, Tarr expressed his disappointment at not being able to complete the clean-up at the municipality.

He said that he never expected to be mayor again, but that he did expect to be on the Exco to oversee the process of rebuilding the municipality that had been stabilised with the tabling of the 2011/12 budget and the integrated development plan.

Tarr was a member of the KZN provincial parliament who was brought in to sort out the mess at Msunduzi Municipality.

He said in his statement, “There are clearly elements in this region who do not wish to see me in any executive capacity whatsoever.”

He went on to say that he was not prepared to work as an ordinary councillor “under some elements of the new regime and where there is constant interference in the running of council by outside influences”.

“There will be clashes after the administration team leaves so it is better that I go.

“This does not include the new mayor, for whom I have a high regard …”

In an e-mail withdrawing his earlier statement of resignation, Tarr said he will issue a press release shortly.

Contacted yesterday, Tarr said a lot is going on and that he is not yet ready to talk, but he will clarify his position within the next few days.

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