Unlisted — but Mayor

2011-06-02 00:00

UMGENI residents were shocked to see the head of corporate services at the municipality, Mbali Myeni, being inducted as the town’s mayor yesterday.

Her name did not appear on any of the election lists submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission.

Municipal insiders were surprised at her taking a R25 000 a month salary cut to become the mayor.

Myeni, the operations manager at the municipality, was a Section 57 employee earning R868 000 per annum a salary that translates to about R72 000 per month.

As mayor she will be getting about R47 000 a month plus a phone allowance.

Myeni’s rise at the municipality has been meteoric. She was a media spokesperson before becoming a Section 57 employee.

ANC members in the area say there is a lot of anger over her appointment as mayor. Plans to protest outside the Howick West Hall where the inauguration of the new council took place did not materialise. There was a heavy police presence for the duration of the ceremony.

The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal rushed to defend its decision to appoint Myeni, despite the fact that she was not on its election list and that her name only emerged during the installation of the Howick council yesterday.

ANC provincial secretary, Sihle Zikalala said it was within the ANC’s right to review its list to ensure its contingent in the council has sufficient capacity to build leadership “and to ensure gender as well as youth representation in the council”.

Zikalala said the intervention in which Myeni’s name was included in the final list and her appointment to be the ANC’s mayoral candidate was done for those purposes.

KZN Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) chief operations officer Ntombifuthi Masinga confirmed that political parties have a right to fill vacancies with new people who were not on the election list, if vacancies had been declared.

“Procedures dictate that people cannot assume seats until they are officially declared councillors by the IEC. The Howick vacancy was duly declared to our office. Chances are it was processed…” Masinga said.

DA Caucus leader Pam Passmoor said it was very interesting that the ANC have pulled Myeni, one of their S57 deployments, out of her R868 000+ job and made her the mayor at a hugely reduced salary.

“This bodes well for the finances of the municipality if they can be persuaded that she never had a real job in the first place and does not need to be replaced, but it is an ominous sign of the faith that the ANC has in the calibre of the other councillors who will be deciding how to spend the ratepayers’ money,” Passmoor said.

Myeni was inaugurated along with Deputy Mayor Scelo Majozi and the speaker Thandiwe Mchunu.

In the council, the ANC has 14 councillors while the DA has nine. Councillor Sipho Majozi of the ANC and Moira Grueneberg of the DA were elected to be the municipality’s representative at the uMgungundlovu District.

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