Msunduzi Mayor, deputy mayor and speaker axed

2019-08-13 16:22
City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM

City Hallâ??s Clock tower keeps ticking. The Msunduzi municipality has managed to keep ahead of the problem the pigeons keep dropping. Photo. Jonathan Burton8BIM (File)

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The ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) yesterday resolved to axe the top leadership of its two major municipalities of Msunduzi and eThekwini, relieving both Themba Njilo and Zandile Gumede of their duties.

According to sources within the PEC, Njilo was axed alongside his deputy Thobani Zuma and Msunduzi Municipality Speaker Jabu Ngubo.

“The PEC was of the view that the two municipalities had, under the two mayors, not been able to deliver services at the level which meets voter expectations,” a PEC member said.

Gumede found herself at odds with ANC provincial leaders following her arrest for fraud and corruption in connection with the R200 million eThekwini Solid Waste tender.

The PEC, which two months ago placed Gumede on special leave, had been widely expected to use the criminal charges against her as grounds to axe her.

However, the source told The Witness that both Gumede and Njilo were axed for the poor performance of their respective municipalities.

“While the issue of the criminal charges was discussed during the PEC meeting, it was about the eThekwini municipality’s failure to deliver,” the source said.

The axing of the leadership of the two municipalities came after a task team report presented to the PEC had highlighted a number of challenges in the local governments.

In Msunduzi, the task team cited divisions within the municipality’s political leadership as a major factor in the local government’s poor performance.

The leadership, the task team found, had been working against each other, with one faction supporting former president Jacob Zuma and another backing current President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Witness previously reported how in-fighting within the ANC caucus resulted in the collapse of meetings due to a failure to meet quorums.

As the PEC was busy deliberating the Msunduzi leadership’s future, The Witness understands that ANC councillors in Msunduzi were called to an emergency meeting.

However, ANC councillors who rushed to the caucus meeting expecting to be briefed about the leadership changes said they were disappointed that nothing had been forthcoming from the municipality’s top leadership.

“They were talking about municipal issues in general and carried on as if it’s business as usual. The fact of the matter is that most of us are concerned about the future and it would have helped if caucus leadership had shed some light on the rumours flying around,” an ANC councillor said.

By late last night the PEC members were still locked in the meeting.

Issues that were still being finalised at last night’s meeting included the future of the leadership of other ANC-led municipalities, including Newcastle, whose mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba is currently facing murder charges.

Earlier, sources within the PEC indicated ANC members serving in Msunduzi’s Exco would also be removed.

However, by late last night it was not clear whether the matter had been finalised.

While the ANC provincial leadership had claimed that the decision to bring about changes to ruling party municipalities was meant to boost the performance of the local governments, ANC members unhappy about the removal of their leaders were planning to mount a campaign against the current PEC.

“What I can say to you is that the decision to remove these comrades has nothing to do with improving service delivery — it is meant to ensure that those close to the new ANC leadership were placed in influential positions so that they could use their positions to accumulate wealth on behalf of their masters.

“We will definitely be mobilising support for Zandile Gumede and comrades in Msunduzi as we are of the view [that] they are being purged,” a prominent ANC member in the Moses Mabhida region said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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