uMtshezi mayor: election postponed

2010-11-10 00:00

THE much anticipated election of the new mayor for the uMtshezi Municipality in Estcourt yesterday did not materialise as councillors were told that the expelled mayor, Maliyakhe Shelembe, has taken the Inkatha Freedom Party to court over his expulsion.

Shelembe was expelled from the IFP last month after disciplinary action found him guilty of bringing the party into disrepute for refusing to step down as mayor.

During the full council sitting in Estcourt yesterday, Shelembe was conspicuous by his absence.

When called by The Witness, he said he was “too far” from Estcourt.

Instead of discussing the election of the new mayor, the session discussed normal council matters.

After it had wrapped up the day’s proceedings, speaker Bhekithemba Dlamini requested a meeting with councillors and senior municipality officials.

After the private “meeting”, which lasted less than 10 minutes, councillors and officials were seen leaving the chambers.

One of the councillors, who asked not to be named, told The Witness that uMtshezi Deputy Mayor Lucky Ntshaba told the meeting that the council could not proceed with electing the new mayor because Shelembe is taking legal action challenging his dismissal.

Ntshaba later confirmed in an interview that this was the reason for the indefinite postponement of the election of the new mayor.

He said he was to meet Shelembe, Dlamini and the mun­icipal manager, Nonhlanhla Njoko, later yesterday to discuss the matter further.

IFP national organiser Albert Mangaqa Mncwango confirmed that Shelembe is challenging his expulsion as well as his dismissal from the mayoral position.

“But we stand by our decisions,” he added.

“We are going to continue with our deployment plans for the municipality and we are definitely going to defend our decision to expel him from the party …

“For the time being, the deputy mayor [Ntshaba] is going to act as the mayor,” Mncwango said.

The ANC chief whip in the uMtshezi Municipality, Phiwokwakhe Sokhela, said his party is not satisfied with the explanation by the deputy mayor because a vacancy had been declared after Shelembe’s expulsion by his party.

Last night Shelembe, Dlamini, Njoko and Ntshaba could not be reached on their phones and at the time of going to print they had not responded to messages.


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