Councillors accuse Helen Zille of interference in eThekwini

DA Federal Council leader Helen Zille has been accused of interference in the running of eThekwini municipal caucus.

DA Federal Council leader Helen Zille has been accused of interference in the running of eThekwini municipal caucus.

Published Jul 5, 2023


Durban — DA councillors in eThekwini Municipality are fuming after Helen Zille’s alleged interference collapsed the election of a new caucus leadership on Friday.

Councillors who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity said they regarded Zille’s action as interference and that Zille used the Federal Legal Commission to save Thabani Mthethwa, in whom the majority of caucus members had lost confidence.

Mthethwa’s caucus was contesting despite being voted out through a motion of no confidence. Mthethwa had been removed after he was accused of being silent on many issues of service delivery under the ANC-led coalition.

The meeting was cancelled at the last minute after a ruling from the Federal Legal Commission found that the motion against Mthethwa was flawed.

The councillors questioned the timing of the ruling when they were ready to vote. They are demanding to know when Zille got the appeal and when the Federal Legal Commission submitted it to eThekwini.

“The national office used just a technicality to block the election of the new caucus. What the national leadership failed to consider was that the caucus leadership under Mthethwa has lost confidence,” said a DA member.

Another party member said in the initial stages Zille had said the caucus itself should make its own decision and the caucus decided not to read the names of the councillors who had supported the motion.

The DA national leadership accepted an appeal which challenged the decision not to read out names.

Zille denied any wrongdoing and referred the Daily News back to the caucus for a reason why the meeting collapsed.

She said her job was to ensure the DA constitution was followed, adding that a dispute had been declared.

“I referred it to the Federal Legal Commission and the ruling came through at 9.35am. After this was sent through to eThekwini, I had no role at all,” said Zille.

Mthethwa declined to comment. He said national and provincial leadership should comment.

DA provincial chairperson Dean Macpherson directed media to Zille for comment.

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