DA skips meeting, faces flak

2013-06-28 00:00

THE official opposition party boycotted Msunduzi’s full council sitting yesterday.

Democratic Alliance councillors stayed away because speaker Babu Baijoo and Mayor Chris Ndlela postponed the sitting, which was supposed to take place on Wednesday, to accommodate Premier Zweli Mkhize’s Operation Sukuma Sakhe (OSS) social ills campaign in the northern suburbs on the same day.

Baijoo and Ndlela were incensed by the decision of the DA councillors to boycott the meeting.

“Operation Sukuma Sakhe is a provincial government programme and we are part of that government, so we had to support this initiative because it was right in our backyard,” said Baijoo.

He said he was informed about this last week and informed party whips. “Party whips initially had no problem with the postponement,” he said.

Baijoo said he gave 48 hours notice to reschedule the full council.

He said this had been done in other parts of the province.

Councillor Manillal Inderjith said OSS seeks to institute food security, fight diseases, in particular HIV, Aids and TB, empower women and youth, fight social ills and instil behavioural changes among citizens.

“Communities must be represented together with the ward councillor because they have a role to play in resolving issues affecting their ward. Their blatant decision to boycott deprives the community that elected them to serve them,” said Inderjith.

He proposed that council dock their salaries, which was seconded by councillor Rachel Soobiah.

Ndlela was unapologetic about postponing the meeting because he viewed the social ills campaign as an important initiative that will go a long way in helping poor communities.

“If we have to do it again we would,” said Ndlela.

DA caucus leader Bill Lambert issued a statement on Wednesday criticising “the autocratic and dictatorial” approach of the ANC in the municipality, who unilaterally moved the council sitting to accommodate the premier’s walkabout in Northdale. which they saw as electioneering.

He said the DA took a stand not to attend the meeting because management of city affairs cannot be jeopardised by ANC election plans and agendas.

Both the IFP and the NFP councillors issued letters of apology because of party commitments.

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