Coup to oust Exco averted

2009-10-01 00:00

A THREATENED “palace coup” to unseat the Msunduzi Municipality executive committee (Exco) failed to materialise yesterday following a last-minute intervention by the provincial executive committee (PEC) of the African National Congress.

Sources in the municipality, who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, said the coup was planned by an ANC faction which is thought to be headed by the council speaker, Alpha Shelembe.

The Witness understands that Shelembe’s faction had planned to push for a vote of no confidence in the Msunduzi Mayor, Zanele Hlatshwayo, and the Exco during a full council sitting yesterday.

However, alleged the sources, a senior ANC councillor sought the intervention of the PEC, which subsequently reprimanded the councillors who had plotted to remove the current Exco.

According to the sources, the plan to oust the Exco has been in existence for some time and came to a head during a meeting of the party’s regional general council at the weekend.

Hlatshwayo and Exco members, alleged the sources, were insulted and called names.

The plot to oust them was allegedly scheduled for yesterday’s full council.

The sources disclosed that the senior councillor contacted the PEC about the planned ousting, and its delegation and ANC councillors were called to a caucus meeting.

Shelembe’s faction was allegedly given a harsh talking-to and the coup was averted.

Opposition parties in the council told The Witness that they were aware of the plot to kick out the Exco.

DA caucus leader and Exco member Bill Lambert said his party was aware of the planned move to dissolve Exco because rumours had been doing the rounds.

He said any attempt to overthrow Exco would have been illegal as the no-confidence vote was not on the agenda and was therefore in contravention of council rules.

Lambert spoke out about the continuous infighting within the ANC.

“There are two factions in the ANC and it’s really time to sort this out because it’s having a negative effect on service delivery in the city.

“Instead of getting better, it’s actually getting worse.”

Lambert said that if the ANC is unhappy with its Exco members, it should recall them through the proper channels, as was done in the uMgungundlovu District Municipality. The district’s Exco was recalled in May last year.

IFP caucus leader and Exco member Dolo Zondi said his party had also heard about the attempted coup through the rumour mill and when they went to the full council meeting they expected something to happen.

“We were ready for them and were prepared to counter the action because it would have been illegal,” said Zondi.

Zondi said infighting of ANC members in the local council is dangerous for the city because a dissolution of Exco would hamper progress.

Zondi said he had been deployed to serve as an Exco member by his party, not the ANC, so any attempt to remove him, or any other opposition Exco member, would have been unlawful.

This is not the first attempt to oust Hlatshwayo and the Exco.

In March this year, the IFP passed a vote of no confidence in the mayor, but she retained her position after the voting went in her favour.

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