Msunduzi councillors warned

2018-11-21 15:30

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Msunduzi speaker Jabu Ngubo has had enough.

On Tuesday Ngubo lashed out at councillors for their high rate of absenteeism, which has halted many meetings because there was no quorum.

Numerous apologies were read out at a special full council meeting held at the City Hall on Tuesday as several councillors were unavailable for the meeting, which was called to catch up on the time lost due to previous meetings that had collapsed for the same reason. Dozens of seats reserved for councillors remained empty during Tuesday’s meeting.

Opposition parties have blamed the ANC factional fights for the collapse of the many meetings.

Ngubo told those present she would from now on not accept apologies that were not detailed enough.

“The apology must be fully detailed and it must demonstrate the urgency or motivate why it should compete with a full council meeting. In many cases when we get these apologies, they talk about ward commitments. We are paid to be councillors. We are paying ward committee members so they can relieve you when you have other meetings.”

She reminded the absent councillors their commitment to the Msunduzi council came first, saying if they were not councillors, they would not have any other commitments.

Exco member Eunice Majola-Zondi said portfolio committee meetings were also collapsing due to absenteeism.

“We have a huge backlog. There must be action taken. We must not only talk, but we must act,” she said.

Ngubo responded by saying there would be no more absenteeism. “It is a promise, not a threat,” she said.

Ward councillor Godman “Sox” Dlamini said it was high time that the councillors who deliberately miss meetings, face the music.

“We are not here to play games. We are here to work. We are taking decisions that are impacting on people’s lives. We cannot be disturbed by people who do not know what they are here for,” he said.

Another councillor, Sandile Dlamini, said he hoped the absent councillors would get the message.

“The culprits are not here. We have work piling up even in portfolio committees,” he said.

Councillor Xolani Ngongoma, however, pointed out in some instances the City was to blame for absenteeism.

“Especially when it comes to special full council meetings, we get notified late when we already have other commitments,” he said.

DA caucus leader Sibongiseni Majola said ANC factional politics were to blame for the absent councillors.

“We are dealing with an ANC which is divided in three.

“The NDZ (that supported Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s unsuccessful presidential bid), CR17 (supporters of President Cyril Ramaphosa) and unity (which supported Zweli Mkhize’s unsuccessful presidential bid). This is disturbing the operations of council.

“As we are dealing with disciplinary matters at the moment, groupings use their majority to sabotage the quorum if the person being disciplined belongs to their faction,” he said.

Majola said the agenda was also to blame for high absenteeism.

“Issues being discussed are not pertinent issues. They do not speak to challenges being faced by the city,” he said.

IFP caucus leader Thinasonke Ntombela said it was good that Ngubo was stamping her authority.

“She is the speaker and the buck stops with her. These are official meetings in calendar, so I do not know why people would come with an excuse that they have ward commitments. In many instances, this is being done deliberately to sabotage meetings,” he said.

Attempts to get comment from chief whip Truman Magubane were unsuccessful.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  msunduzi municipality
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