Cracks emerge in ANC, NFP alliance

By Bheki Mbanjwa Time of article published Oct 20, 2011

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Cracks have started to show in the five-month-old ANC-NFP coalition governing the 19 KwaZulu-Natal municipalities left hanging after the local government elections this year.

The IFP – with the help of an unlikely bedfellow in the NFP – on Wednesday wrested control of Mtubatuba municipality from the ANC after successfully passing a vote of no confidence on the ANC mayor and Speaker.

This forced an election which led to former Mayor Mavis Davies (ANC) being replaced by the IFP’s Qhina Mkhwanazi, while Sgoga Mkhwanazi of the NFP replaced Israel Nyawo (ANC) as council Speaker.

The position of deputy mayor, which was previously occupied by the new Speaker, went to Zakhele Nyawo of the IFP.

Only 17 of the councillors voted in favour of maintaining the status quo, while 20 councillors voted for the change of guard.

The ANC has 16 seats at the municipality followed by the IFP with 15, while the NFP is represented by seven councillors.

One IFP councillor was not part of the voting process because he has resigned.

The municipality was among the hung municipalities and had been governed by the ANC-NFP coalition.

Zakhele Nyawo – who is also the leader of the IFP caucus at the municipality – stressed on Wednesday that the recent developments did not mean there was now a coalition agreement between the IFP and the NFP at the municipality.

“The NFP decided to vote with us as we have on numerous occasions voted with them when we felt that the there was a need.”

An NFP councillor who did not want to be named – for fear of facing disciplinary action from his party – said on Wednesday night that the relations between the NFP and ANC councillors had soured and that this had impacted negatively on service delivery in the town.

“When we passed a vote of no confidence in the mayor and the speaker we were acting upon instructions from the people we represent because all that people want is service delivery. We could no longer work with the ANC as they continuously undermined us and called us puppets.”

He said that service delivery had stalled in the town because of – among other things – the position of the municipal manager not being filled.

It is understood that the ANC and the NFP could not agree on a suitable candidate to fill the position.

“The ANC was pushing for its preferred candidate to be appointed into the position despite having scored very little in the interview, while the NFP wanted S’ya Ntuli – who scored the most points in the interview – to be elected into the position,” Zakhele Nyawo said.

It has also emerged that relations between the NFP and the ANC in other coalition-governed towns across the province were also strained.

Early this week the NFP leadership tried unsuccessfully to force its councillors to sign a pledge committing to work with the ANC.

But NFP councillors at Mtubatuba said they knew nothing about this pledge. “We were never made to sign anything, besides the President (Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi) cannot dictate to us because she is just an interim leader. We are yet to elect the leader of the party. We are all new here just like she is,” said the NFP councillor.

Contacted for comment last night NFP national spokesman, Andile Biyela, said his party would await a full report on the developments at Mtubatuba before deciding what to do.

“There is a meeting of the national working committee sitting tomorrow (Thursday) to deliberate on urgent matters of the party and this matter will be discussed.”

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