VZ voted mayor again

2011-06-15 00:00

ALMOST a year after being unceremoniously removed as Zululand District mayor by the Inkatha Freedom Party, the National Freedom Party president, Zanele “VZ” Magwaza-Msibi, was sworn back to the same position yesterday, thanks to the NFP-ANC coalition agreement.

Magwaza-Msibi, who was removed from Zululand mayorship by the IFP in April last year and deployed to the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature amid internal ructions that rocked the party during the past two years, beat the IFP’s mayoral candidate, Sbusiso Nkwanyana, by six votes.

The ANC-NFP coalition won 20 votes to the IFP’s 14, and the only Democratic Alliance councillor, T.R. Bhunge, abstained. She also abstained during the voting for the speaker, a post that went to Mpiyakhe Hlatshwayo of the NFP.

During voting for the deputy mayor Bhunge supported the IFP candidate, B.B. Zwane, who was beaten by the ANC’s Esther Qwabe.

In the May 18 local government elections the IFP received 14 seats, the ANC 10, NFP 10 and DA one in a 35-seat municipality.

That gave the ANC and the NFP an edge over the IFP after the two parties had signed an agreement to co-govern 19 municipalities that were left hung after the elections.

Before Magwaza-Msibi’s inauguration there was speculation that she did not qualify to stand as mayor — as dictated by the South African Constitution — because she had been sworn in twice before for the same position.

After taking legal advice the KZN Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Department, confirmed that she qualified because she had never finished her second term.

To avoid the situation where, as before, NFP councillors had voted with the IFP, this time they were given pens of different colours to record their names in the ballot.

The NFP councillors voted with the IFP during the inauguration of Umtshezi and Umlalazi councils last week.

In her maiden speech Magwaza-Msibi said that for the council to succeed in pushing back the frontiers of poverty, joblessness and underdevelopment it has to transcend the shallow politics of partisanship and selfishness “to a noble and much higher trajectory of putting the service delivery and development imperatives of the people of Zululand first”.

“Our apex priority is increasing our spending and investment in water and sanitation infrastructure, both in terms of the maintenance of existing infrastructure, as well as expanding into areas that are still not serviced or under-serviced …”

“We will endeavour to increase our spending in the coming years on social infrastructure. This will include construction of social and recreational facilities and amenities, construction of crèches, classrooms, pedestrian bridges and the like.

“This is to ensure that the material conditions of the people of this district change and change for the better.”

The Zululand council inauguration was attended by KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize, who committed the provincial government to co-operate with the new council, and two MECs, Economic Development’s Meshack Radebe and Tourism and Economic Development’s Mike Mabuyakhulu.

While the ceremony proceeded in the chamber, ANC and NFP supporters outside sang their parties’ songs and toyi-toyied together like old comrades.

IFP supporters looked on glumly.

The icing on top of what was called the NFP-ANC “wedding cake” came when ANC Ulundi councillor Makhosonke Msibi and an unidentified NFP woman supporter staged a “wedding” of the two parties, with the bridegroom (Msibi) wearing a tuxedo and the “bride” a wedding gown.

To signal the end of the IFP dominance in the Zululand district, ANC and NFP supporters took a ceramic elephant, the IFP’s party symbol, and threw it into the bush.

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