Ethekwini council has become ’notoriously shambolic’: DA
Durban - “The eThekwini Municipality has rapidly descended into a complete shambles since 2016 and every day is a fight to have basic laws, rules and services upheld.”
This is how DA caucus leader Nicole Graham described the situation behind the closed doors of the municipality’s executive committee meetings, where important decisions affecting eThekwini residents and ratepayers are made.
Graham said the eThekwini council had been “notoriously shambolic” and every day was a fight to have basic laws, rules and services upheld.
She was responding shortly after the Durban High Court dismissed the DA’s application to declare the tabling of the 2020/2021 budget unlawful.
The DA went to court following the incident which occurred during a budget vote debate earlier this year.
The DA sought an interdict preventing the municipality from implementing the 2020/ 2021 budget passed by the council on May 29 from being implemented before the start of the new financial year.
The application was dismissed with costs, including the cost of the two counsels.
Due to lockdown regulations prohibiting large gatherings, the budget debate attended by a majority of councillors was held virtually and was live streamed on Facebook for public viewing.
Graham was due to speak, when there were technical difficulties with the live stream, which resulted in her not being able to give her speech.
The budget was passed with 126 votes for and 10 votes against.
The DA councillors logged out of the meeting after the incident and did not vote.
In a statement after the meeting, Graham said her microphone was repeatedly muted and the speaker of the house, Weziwe Thusi, did nothing to resolve the matter.
The municipality responded by insisting that they had done nothing wrong and were confident that all processes and procedures were adhered to.
The city said Judge Dhaya Pillay found the DA was not deprived of the opportunity to make submissions on the budget since the requirements for the representatives’ democracy were met and public participation enabled.
Pillay said that speaker Thusi had stopped the muting of Graham’s microphone and continued with the business of the council.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda welcomed the judgment and described the court’s decision as a victory for the residents as the city “continued to implement its pro-poor budget”.