Durban - A tug-of-war is being fought over a plum seat on eThekwini’s executive committee with Minority Front councillor Patrick Pillay refusing to budge - even though he no longer has a mandate to be on the committee.
The rightful “owner” of Pillay’s warm seat on the eThekwini Municipality exco is an IFP representative, but party caucus leader Mdu Nkosi said they had not received correspondence from the Speaker’s office about delays in taking up the position.
“We are waiting to see what will happen at council... We have waited long enough. It will now be up to the party if they wish to challenge the matter,” he said.
Speaker Logie Naidoo, who manages the councillors, said he had to follow correct processes and could not just “shoo out” an exco member. The appointment of exco members was the council’s decision.
Naidoo said that at the full council meeting on Thursday, he would table a report on the matter. He claimed that, despite the electorate wanting the MF gone, it still had a legal right to occupy the seat until the council made the change. “We are following the law,” he said.
Naidoo admitted he had received a letter from the IFP but said “they must wait”.
Pillay was expected to vacate the seat after the July 2 by-elections when the MF lost its Phoenix and Chatsworth wards (53 and 73) to the DA owing to councillor defections.
This left the IFP with more councillors, making the party eligible for the exco seat.
Pillay said he had not been told to leave the sea.
“I will await the council’s decision,” he said.
As an exco member, Pillay is paid an annual package of R838 000. Once he returns to being a normal councillor, his package will drop to R430 000.
DA councillor Tex Collins said Pillay was holding on to the position even though he knew it was no longer his.
“He should have vacated the seat immediately, but it is also the responsibility of the Speaker and the city manager to officially inform him to vacate this seat. This is law,” Collins said.
With Pillay holding on to the seat, he ran the risk of being asked to pay back his big salary.
“However, the Speaker should be held entirely responsible for this delay because he knows what the regulations are,” he said.
Political analyst Protas Madlala said the lack of movement on the matter was a delaying tactic to prevent the IFP joining exco and was “cheap politics”.
“Rules are rules and they cannot be changed whenever it suits certain individuals.
What if the IFP challenged all exco decisions made during this time?” he said.
According to Madlala, Pillay had “no backbone” for staying in a position that was no longer his.
“Once he knew the results, he should have vacated the seat because he knows he no longer has the right to be there,”