uMtshezi mayor ousted by the opposition in no-confidence vote

2012-09-12 00:00

FOR opposition parties in uMtshezi (Estcourt) Municipality, it was a case of the ANC getting its just deserts.

Yesterday, they managed to remove the ANC’s mayor, Bongani Dlamini, after a vote of no confidence, replacing him with his deputy, Bhekithema Dlamini, of the National Freedom Party.

For the ANC, however, this was tantamount to a coup d’ etat and unprocedural.

The ANC and the NFP have had a frosty relationship in the muncipality, despite forming a governing coalition after the 2011 local election.

However, the balance of forces in the council changed three weeks ago after ANC councillor Jimmy Lembede was murdered and his fellow councillor, Nelson Ndawonde, died of natural causes.

Speaking to The Witness, Bongani Dlamini said he had received a message saying that some councillors had tabled a vote of no confidence and intended to remove him and council speaker Cesar Nunes.

He said the NFP, IFP and the Democratic Alliance had seen a gap following the death of the two ANC councillors

“Currently, we have seven members in the council. The IFP has four, the NFP has three, and the DA has one. They have taken the municipality, and they have an even bigger plan to take the district municipality. We don’t recognise the change, and I’m still the mayor,” said Bongani Dlamini.

The DA’s provincial chairperson, Haniff Hoosen, said the DA had in fact abstained from voting.

However, he maintained Dlamini’s removal was legal, as the Municipal Structures Act provided for a mayor to be changed through a vote of no confidence.

This was echoed by the NFP’s national chairperson, Maliyakhe Shelembe.

Shelembe said Bongani Dlamini had called a meeting a month ago for yesterday, where he had hoped to remove his deputy.

However, with the subsequent death of the two ANC councillors, he was left vulnerable because he could not muster the necessary majority yesterday.

“In a previous meeting last month the mayor raised a motion to remove his deputy, Bhekithemba. The next meeting to pass the motion through a vote was yesterday,” said Shelembe.

He accused Dlamini of not arriving for yesterday’s meeting until it was over, allowing the opposition to pass a vote of no confidence in him.

Shelembe’s version was corroborated by the IFP, who in the new configuration, received the deputy mayor and speaker posts.

However, Bongani Dlamini, insisted yesterday denied he had ever tried to remove his deputy.

“That’s not true. That’s a lie. The ANC has never put forward a motion of no confidence.”

He also denied claims that he had called the meeting, saying he was in Johannesburg attending a Salga conference.

“I was not there. None of the ANC councillors were there. It was just NFP, IFP and DA councillors present.

“If we wanted to remove him, we would have done so a long time ago,” he said.

Cogta MEC Nomusa Dube lambasted the opposition, and said Dlamini’s removal was irregular.

“According to information at our disposal, the meeting continued despite the fact that there was no quorum and the legitimate presiding officer (the speaker) … was not present.”

Dube said her department was very concerned that there were individuals who “for their narrow selfish interest are hell-bent on playing politics at the expense of service delivery”.

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