POSTS for African National Congress (ANC) councillors have remained vacant for the past year at Umzimkhulu Municipality. This has caused concern among opposition parties and members, including mayor Mphuthumi Mpabanga, who have stated that the municipality cannot run smoothly under such conditions.In an interview with the Fever last year, Councillor Luyanda Dladla from the Inkatha Freedom Party said the council was not functioning well because of the unfilled posts. The posts became vacant after councillor Khaya Thobela, who was the speaker for the municipality, was gunned down in April last year. Additionally, councillor Mduduzi Tshibase, councillor Florence Nene and councillor Sindiso Magaqa all died in a space of four months and their positions have since remained vacant.Tshibase was a PR councillor and a ward 14 ANC member in Umzimkhulu who was murdered in June last year. Nene worked for Local Economic Development, Planning and Infrastructure at Umzimkhulu Municipality and she died in a car accident in June. In September, Councillor Magaqa, the former secretary-general of the African National Youth League (ANCYL), was shot dead. Speaking to the Fever on Wednesday, Umzimkhulu Municipality mayor Mphuthumi Mpabanga said the positions will be filled after the ANC has deployed members. When contacted for comment, newly elected ANC Harry Gwala regional secretary Sindi Msomi said processes for deploying people at the municipality for filling the positions are at a final stage. She said the matter is being handled by the ANC KwaZulu-Natal Provincial structure. She said the names of four people; namely Khanyisile Mafuleka, Gugu Mavuma, Nkululeko Mphakathi and Mthokozisi Ngongo; have been announced for the positions. “The people will be sent to the council to be endorsed and the council will decide who will take the position of speaker,” said Msomi.Speaking about the recent Harry Gwala regional congress of the party, she said the new structure will hit the ground running with the preparations for next year’s elections. “Shortly, we will have a manifesto stakeholders forum, an election strategy forum, and a meeting,” she said.