Durban — Former eThekwini deputy mayor Philani Mavundla has returned to uMvoti Local Municipality as mayor following his re-election on Wednesday.
Mavundla retained the mayoral chains after his coalition with the ANC ousted the IFP in the municipality that has its seat in Greytown in the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal.
Mavundla was an ANC mayor in the same municipality after the 2011 local government elections but surprised everyone including the ANC when he announced his resignation in 2013. He was expected to table the budget on the day.
He angered the ANC provincial leadership which charged him for resigning from the deployment without consulting the provincial secretary.
However, the national disciplinary committee dismissed the charges, arguing that the party could not compel people to represent it in any forum against their will.
During his short tenure as the mayor of uMvoti, Mavundla also surprised many by refusing to accept the R700 000 per annum salary, arguing that he was going to survive with an income generated by his businesses.
After staying out of politics for several years he was approached by the National Freedom Party (NFP) in 2019 which was trying to revive itself after being torn apart by factional battles.
In 2020, he won the ward 7 by-election for the NFP and returned to uMvoti Local Municipality as a councillor. He was the first to win a ward for the NFP since it was founded in 2011.
His stay in the NFP was short-lived when he fell out with another faction that wanted the (then) ill Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi to retain her position as president of the party while another faction wanted Mavundla to take over the reins.
In 2021, he left with an NFP faction that wanted him to be president and formed Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) and contested the local government elections the same year.
Mavundla, who owns several properties in eThekwini, was the mayoral candidate for his party in eThekwini.
He rescued the ANC and helped it to retain power in the city after it was threatened by the DA-led opposition.
Mavundla convinced small parties to vote with the ANC and was rewarded with the deputy mayor’s position for his contribution. After falling out with the ANC, he returned to his hometown and was sworn in as a councillor.
His party had assisted the IFP to grab power from the ANC after the 2021 local elections but dumped it and formed a new pact with the ANC which agreed to make him mayor.
In the municipality, the IFP has 10 seats followed by the ANC with nine while ABC got 7. Both mayorship and speaker positions went to the ABC while the ANC received the deputy mayor’s position.
WhatsApp your views on this story to 071 485 7995.