Imbali Unit 3 resident Ricardo Ngubo takes a selfie with IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. ~ Ian Carbutt , The Witness
Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube has hit back at the Inkatha Freedom Party which has accused her of working with the African National Congress to stall processes in hung municipalities.
This was a move, the party alleged, to force a by-election because the ANC apparently "wanted to be in power" in those municipalities.
On Monday the IFP held a press briefing where it expressed concern over how the ANC and the MEC had handled issues at the Nquthu and Jozini municipalities, which are still without leaders.
The IFP's Blessed Gwala said: "The IFP is now convinced that the ANC in KZN, and MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube in particular, are on a well-planned and well-orchestrated campaign to subvert the will of the people just as they did in 2011 when they ganged up against us with the NFP."
The party said ANC members had allegedly been acting in an unruly manner since the first attempt to elect office bearers in the Nquthu council.
"The MEC has been aware of these ANC shenanigans, yet she has deliberately avoided making decisive steps."
In Jozini, three attempts were made to elect office bearers but all three meetings resulted in a stalemate.
"We are aware that there is a broader plan by the ANC to ensure that municipalities governed by the IFP are made ungovernable or are taken over through the back door."
Responding at a press briefing at the Cogta offices in Durban on Tuesday, Dube-Ncube said the accusations were baseless.
"It is not surprising that some of the political parties concerned now want to make Cogta and the MEC a scapegoat for their failure to be leaders that act in the best interest of the communities.
"The challenge in this municipality [Jozini] is that everyone wants total control and power at all costs, despite there being no outright clear majority," said Dube-Ncube.
She said the department was exploring legal action on interventions in the two municipalities.
Municipality at a standstill
"Any assertion to the contrary, or accusations of bias levelled at the department, at this stage is grossly unfair and equivalent to crude propaganda."
Dube-Ncube said it was the responsibility of all political parties to sit and elect office bearers.
She said Jozini municipality was at a standstill because the provincial executive committee had intervened but said the department would ensure that services were delivered.
"In Jozini the ANC has 19 seats, IFP 18, DA 1, EFF 1 and an Independent candidate has 1, and in the absence of a majority, political parties had to come up with a way forward."
She said it was not their "job to run this municipality" which was the "mandate of the municipal council".
She said in Nquthu there had been confusion caused by poor communication on the part of the presiding officer.
Election by coin
"One of the parties approached the court and got a decision in their favour that the inaugural meeting be reconvened. Another dispute is about a councillor who was removed by their party and this councillor's eligibility to participate in council meetings," said Dube-Ncube adding that another sitting was expected to take place on Tuesday.
She said she was disappointed that the IFP had chosen to blame the department for the status quo in Jozini.
The Democratic Alliance previously suggested the tossing of a coin in order to resolve the matter in Jozini, however, Dube-Ncube said this was not the best option.
"The tossing of the coin is a mechanical issue which does not resolve the issue that we are facing in Jozini. You can toss a coin today and elect whoever but you will have to toss the coin again for office bearers.
"For me the issue is that you cannot have a leader that will say that they are a leader of the coin, it is not sustainable. Municipalities are supposed to agree on matters like budgets and financial statements, there will be problems because there won’t be progress in those municipalities."
She said the department's next option was to force political parties to sit and elect leaders.