Axe falls in ANC purge

2018-07-24 15:45
From left: Chairperson Sihle Zikalala, Themba Njilo and Mthandeni Dlungwane.

From left: Chairperson Sihle Zikalala, Themba Njilo and Mthandeni Dlungwane. (Ian Carbutt)

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Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo has been tipped for the chop as part of a unity deal reached between ANC factions ahead of last weekend’s provincial conference that produced a “unity leadership”.

According to reliable sources within the ANC in the province, Njilo was likely to be removed before the end of the year as part of a deal sealed between rebels who had taken the party to court and the ANC provincial leadership.

Rebels had only agreed to participate in last weekend’s provincial conference held at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) after the ANC Provincial Task Team (PTT) dissolved on Thursday shortly before the start of the conference, had made some concessions.

“One of the main sources of divisions within the ANC in the province had been around the manner in which individuals within the ANC had turned the Msunduzi Municipality into a cash cow to fund narrow factional battles within the party.

“Our demand had been that the current Mayor Themba Njilo should be removed as he lacks the stamina to deal with people within the ANC who had taken over the appointment of senior managers and service providers at the municipality,” said a source who was part of the negotiations that resulted in a unity deal being struck.

Talks between the aggrieved ANC members, who are part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s faction, and members of the provincial task team, started shortly after the rebels had interdicted last month’s provincial conference that had been scheduled to take place in Empangeni.

In court papers, the aggrieved ANC members from the Moses Mabhida and Lower South Coast regions had accused leaders of former president Jacob Zuma’s faction, which is dominant in the province, of turning a blind eye to irregularities during the build-up to the conference.

“At the negotiations we told [ANC provincial chairperson] Sihle Zikalala and some of the PTT members who were part of the negotiations that the issue of the provincial cabinet, which was appointed by the PEC that has since been declared illegitimate, should be dealt with.

“The undertaking that we got from Zikalala and his team is that there would be a cabinet reshuffle as soon as possible,” the source said.

The Msunduzi Municipality, which has been rocked by allegations of corruption and maladministration, is currently struggling to fulfil its service delivery mandate, with ratepayers complaining about crumbling public infrastructure and lack of basic services.

The council, which is facing acute cash problems, is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy.

Current Education MEC Mthandeni Dlungwane has been tipped as a likely candidate to replace Njilo.

While newly-elected ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli conceded that the matter around the Msunduzi Municipality was brought up during the unity talks, he denied claims that the PIC made concessions around cabinet reshuffle demands.

“Yes, indeed the matter around the Msunduzi Municipality was raised by comrades from the Moses Mabhida region — it was agreed that the matter should be subjected to an investigation.

“While some of the things that were agreed during talks were work in progress, I don’t recall any agreement on cabinet reshuffle,” he said.

Ntuli also denied claims that Premier Willies Mchunu and eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede were also on the verge of being removed from their posts as part of attempts to bring unity in the province.

The PEC is yet to hold its maiden meeting.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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