Durban — Ousted eThekwini deputy mayor Philani Mavundla will not be appealing the Durban High Court ruling which dismissed his application for reinstatement.
On Friday Judge Mokgere Masipa ruled in favour of eThekwini Municipality, affirming the legality of the urgent motion of no confidence brought against Mavundla.
Until December 31, he was the deputy mayor of eThekwini Municipality and also chairperson of the eThekwini human settlements and infrastructure committee.
Mavundla will return to the council as an ordinary councillor, read a statement issued by Mavundla’s political party, Abantu Batho Congress (ABC).
“The ABC respects and accepts the court’s ruling and confirms that councillor Philani Mavundla will henceforth be joining the opposition benches as an ordinary member of council and leader of the ABC. The party looks forward to the resumption of council in the new year where it will continue to be the voice of the voiceless,” read the statement.
The judgment was also welcomed by municipality speaker Thabani Nyawose, who described it as the vindication of the council’s position that there was nothing illegal about removing Mavundla.
“We have been vindicated by the court where it found that we complied with the law when placing the motion for the removal of the former deputy mayor on the council agenda of December 13. The court further ruled that the council had not breached an earlier order granted in favour of the former deputy mayor on December 12,” said Nyawose.
Mavundla’s removal meant the council would go on and elect the new deputy mayor later this month.
When Mavundla learnt of the intention to remove him, he wrote to the ANC leadership reminding them of their agreement, which he claimed was going to end in 2026. He argued that his removal would amount to a breach of the agreement.
Seeing that the ANC was ignoring him, Mavundla turned to court and applied for an interdict which was granted.
Despite having an urgent court interdict, the ANC in the eThekwini Municipality went ahead and removed Mavundla in a full council meeting where the motion was tabled.
With the assistance of the EFF, the ANC managed to get 125 votes against 59 who opposed his removal.
Mavundla’s removal looked inevitable a couple of months ago when the Daily News obtained an explosive WhatsApp message allegedly penned by mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to him, bashing him for “behaving like a mayor”.
Rumours in the city corridors are that councillor Nkosenhle Madlala, the ANC’s eThekwini deputy regional secretary, who comes from the Zandile Gumede faction that won the regional elective conference in April last year, would be appointed as deputy mayor, but that will depend on the EFF’s demands for helping the ANC oust Mavundla.
With his only two seats in the council, Mavundla managed to convince small parties to help the ANC retain the city after failing to get an outright majority in last year’s local government elections.
The agreement compelled the ANC to make him a deputy mayor and head of Human Settlements and Infrastructure, a department that controls more than 60% of the city’s budget.