Council shambles

2019-06-27 15:00

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Chaos has engulfed council amid rumours that Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo has abandoned the sinking ship.

Meanwhile, the last full council for the 2018/19 financial year, scheduled for Wednesday, collapsed and had to be cancelled because rules for sending out notices and agendas had not been followed.

Unconfirmed reports that Njilo had resigned circulated on social media and the City Hall’s corridors on Wednesday. He was nowhere near council business as he was apparently off sick.

Sources within the ANC said he had not resigned but knew that he was considering it as he was also fed up with the current state of Msunduzi.

One source said: “He feels like he’s fighting a losing battle because he is caught between the ANC factions, the people of Msunduzi and trying to get the officials to do their jobs.

“The recent service delivery protests nearly drove him insane because no one wanted to account for what had gone wrong and fix it.

“I think he is just tired of being blamed for everything that goes wrong here.”

Another source said it would be an act of cowardice if Njilo resigned while Msunduzi was under administration and with a council reshuffle looming.

“We are all waiting for the reshuffle so he mustn’t abandon the ship unless of course the ANC asked him to resign, but I doubt it though,” he said.

Repeated attempts to reach Njilo were unsuccessful.

However, council speaker Jabu Ngubo dispelled the rumours, saying she would be the first person to know if the mayor resigned. She said that he was on sick leave.

ANC regional task team convener Thulani “Two Ways” Xulu said Njilo was still the mayor of the City of Choice.

He added that rumours of his resignation had been circulating for a while and were started by people who wanted to sow divisions within the ANC.

Meanwhile, a meeting meant to be the last full council for the 2018/19 financial year collapsed on Wednesday.

This came after opposition parties told the ANC caucus that they were fed up with the City’s failure to comply with the law, as it was the reason the municipality was under administration.

Ngubo conceded that notices and agendas for the meeting were not sent out timeously as per council’s rules of order.

Some councillors said they did not receive the notices at all and heard through their colleagues that there was a meeting scheduled for Wednesday. Others said they received a phone call from Ngubo informing them about it.

The meeting quickly disintegrated into chaos as councillors argued back and forth about whether it was legal for them to proceed with the deliberations on the matters contained in a 1 500-page agenda.

The ANC caucus tried to plead with the opposition to continue with the meeting even though the rules of order had been flouted.

ANC councillor Ntuthuko Ntshangase said the municipality would incur fruitless expenditure by cancelling the meeting as food had been prepared for council and officials in attendance.

He added that rescheduling the meeting would also inconvenience the senior officials who had to avail themselves for all council sittings.

Thabiso Molefe agreed, saying this would also go against the cost-cutting measures that the City had in place.

When the IFP asked for the administrator, Sbusiso Sithole, to advise council, he said the meeting could not proceed unless there was consensus on the condonation of the flouting of rules.

The ACDP and DA said non-compliance with the key legislation had become part of the City’s tradition and they were putting a stop to it.

“We are also not going to be part of breaking the law,” said IFP’s Thinasonke Ntombela.

The ACDP’s Reinus Niemand said the meeting would not be legal if it continued and the decisions made by council could be challenged in court.

His sentiment was echoed by DA veteran Bill Lambert who said there were already several investigations into the City’s affairs and councillors so they must not take any chances with the law as that could land council in more legal troubles.

“Our affairs are being watched and scrutinised all around the country.”

Ngubo said the meeting would be rescheduled for another day.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality

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