Mixed reaction to Msunduzi leadership
Pietermaritzburg - There was mixed reaction on Friday to the newly-appointed leadership in the Msunduzi municipality.
"We are concerned that the ANC has opted to appoint individuals like Alpha Shelembe and Zonke Mbatha into positions of deputy mayor and speaker respectively," said Democratic Alliance leader Sizwe Mchunu.
The two were part of the executive committee forced to resign in April 2010 amid concerns about a divisive group which had led the council to a state of near collapse.
Last year, the provincial government appointed an administrator in an attempt to ensure that stability was restored in the KwaZulu-Natal council.
Shelembe and Mbatha were elected unopposed to their positions during the inauguration of the new council in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
Mchunu said the DA was encouraged by the appointment of Chris Ndlela as mayor.
"If he acts in the way that he has spoken, then the fortunes of the municipality will improve," he said.
Finance MEC Ina Cronje, from Pietermaritzburg, said Ndlela understood the challenges facing the municipality.
Ndlela is a former teacher and the current Congress of SA Trade Unions provincial chairperson.
Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business (PCB) president Tinus Havinga also welcomed the new leadership.
"Although we were hoping for a mix in the leadership, we welcome the new leaders and hope for good relations," he said.
Havinga said calls for continuity in the leadership were not a sign of favouring a certain candidate, but a sentiment from organised business.
"For business to thrive, there is always a need for some assurances on whether the foundations built by the old leadership will be followed by newcomers," he said.
Former mayor Mike Tarr, who took over the position in April last year is held in high esteem by the business community for his openness over the past year.
Some had expected him to remain in the executive, but he did not.
Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube said it was important for councillors to be alert to the problems facing their constituencies.
"We do not expect residents to be the ones complaining about lack of service delivery or the refuse that has not been picked up. The councillors should be the first ones to know and to act on such problems."
Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness (Pacsa) a local NGO said the newly-appointed leadership would have to engage the public more meaningfully to gain their respect and trust.