Comeback councillors

2011-03-02 00:00

THEY may have been blamed for the downfall of Msunduzi Municipality and dropped from the Executive Committee (Exco), but if rank-and-file ANC members have their way, former Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo and her deputy Mervin Dirks could find themselves back in city hall.

The two, with dismissed Exco member Themba Zungu, were nominated as ANC candidates for the forthcoming local government election. This was confirmed by several ANC members who said the three were nominated by branches for the Proportional Representative list.

Sources said they had expected the party’s local regional executive committee (REC), who kicked them out in the first place, to remove their names. The sources said they expected the REC to go back to the branches and explain that the nominations were out of order as this was the leadership in council under whose watch the municipality collapsed and faced financial ruin.

Several party members said they were surprised to find the names of the trio retained and going forward to the list conference where their nominations as PR councillors were once more supported.

An ANC member said its provincial executive committee (PEC) is scrutinising the lists and it will be interesting to see what will happen.

“If the names of these former councillors who brought the municipality into disrepute are retained it will make a mockery of putting the municipality under administration and the money spent on a turnaround strategy,” said the member.

“Maritzburg residents would have had to endure Operation Pitbull, Operation Chihuahua and all other stringent measures to fill up the city coffers for nothing,” he added.

However, another member said that the three have never been tried in a court of law, and nor did the ANC institute disciplinary charges against them, so they have a right to be nominated.

Infighting over the choice and the calibre of candidates for councillors continues to bedevil the ANC nomination process. Sources say the PEC has been swamped by complaints from different branches. By Sunday the committee had called for the CVs of all the candidates nominated and this is going to be one way of filtering who goes through.

ANC spokesperson Makhosi Khoza said it is wrong of anyone to have leaked such information to the media as no final list has yet been completed. Khoza said there have been proposals and if the names of the former Msunduzi Exco members were put forward there is nothing wrong as they did not resign as members of the ANC. Khoza said it is not necessarily a foregone conclusion that any of the current names proposed will be going forward as the lists are at a very early draft stage.

“So far the process has been open where any member of the ANC is allowed to be nominated or can stand for nomination. However, in the end it will be the leadership of the party that will take responsibility for who is selected and the process will keep close to the wishes of the people,” she said.

Former mayor Hlatshwayo said she is aware that she was nominated by members of the party.

She said she has waited for a year for the inquiry at Msunduzi to come to finality. “I don’t want a cloud hanging over my head forever. I need to move on with my life and I deserve finality over this matter,” Hlatshwayo added.

Zungu said he had found out that he had been nominated in a list process within the region. He said those involved in the selection process included members from the outlying municipalities of the district.

“I did not go after people to nominate me; it shows that people have confidence in us,” said Zungu.

He added that there has to be closure on the Msunduzi saga. “It has been alleged that we ran the municipality down. We tried to run council in the proper way, but there was political interference from the outside. We want all of this clarified,” Zungu said

Dirks could not be reached for comment.



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