Sacked IFP mayor ready to go to court

2011-03-02 00:00

“WE will meet in court!”

These were the words uttered by the fired Inkatha Freedom Party’s uMtshezi (Estcourt) municipality mayor Bhekithemba Dlamini yesterday, when asked to comment on his removal as mayor less than three months after his appointment.

According to a letter addressed to uMtshezi’s municipal manager Dlamini, speaker M.J. Ntshaba and IFP councillor S.C. Mlele have been removed from their positions by the party. The letter is in the The Witness’s possession.

Dlamini, the previous speaker at the municipality, was appointed as mayor in December last year following the expulsion of Maliyakhe Shelembe in November last year. Ntshaba, previously the deputy mayor, was appointed speaker.

In a letter dated February 28 sent to the uMtshezi municipal manager Nonhlanhla Njoko, the IFP’s Political Oversight Committee (POC) chairperson G.B. Bhengu said Dlamini, Ntshaba and Mlele, had been expelled from the party with immediate effect.

The letter said they were therefore “no longer qualified to represent the party as councillors”.

Bhengu advised Njoko to inform the Independent Electoral Commission about these vacancies.

No explanation was given as to why they had been removed.

Speaking to The Witness yesterday afternoon, Dlamini said he was still at his mayoral office and had received “no letter from the IFP informing me about my expulsion”.

“Should they do that [confirm his expulsion], I will definitely meet them in court. The IFP is not above the law and should they do something illegal, I have a right to challenge it,” Dlamini said.

Njoko refused to comment on the matter, citing security reasons.

Dlamini and other IFP councillors in uMtshezi are believed to have crossed to the newly-formed National Freedom Party (NFP).

More than 40 out of 66 IFP councillors in municipalities under uThukela district, which includes the uMtshezi area, are expec­ted to resign en masse from the IFP to join the NFP.

IFP national organiser Albert Mncwango first denied knowledge about the POC’s decision, but when confronted with the letter sent to the municipal manager, he said if there was such a letter, it has since been withdrawn.

Mncwango could not be drawn to comment further on the matter.

The news on the expulsion of the mayor and speaker comes in the wake of a vote of no confidence against them, tabled by the ANC at Monday’s full council meeting following the recent expulsion of two other IFP councillors.

ANC uMtshezi caucus leader Phiwokwakhe Sokhela confirmed they intended to table the vote on Monday, but were told that two IFP councillors who were expelled still remain, because they had secured a court interdict challenging their expulsion.

“We are still awaiting legal advice from council lawyers on the matter as we still intend to table the vote of no confidence,” Sokhela said.

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