IFP and ANC make history and set to co-govern uMvoti Municipality for the ‘citizens’

Seated is new Umvoti Municipality Speaker Ntombi Ngubane from the ANC and new mayor Zamani Malembe from IFP. | Willem Phungula

Seated is new Umvoti Municipality Speaker Ntombi Ngubane from the ANC and new mayor Zamani Malembe from IFP. | Willem Phungula

Published May 21, 2024


Durban — In a historic political development a few days ahead of the general elections, the IFP and ANC will for the first time co-govern a municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.

On Tuesday morning, the two bitter political rivals teamed up in uMvoti Local Municipality in Greytown and removed Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) mayor Philani PG Mavundla and Speaker Mfundo Masondo by a vote of no confidence in a special council meeting.

The meeting was called by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi and was chaired by the department’s Deputy Director General Madoda Khathide. In the process, ANC regional chairperson Ntombi Ngubane was elected as the new Speaker while the mayorship went to IFP councillor Zamani Malembe.

Their election was preceded by a drama after the ABC produced a court order interdicting the meeting. The chairperson adjourned the meeting for 10 minutes to consult his legal desk back in Pietermaritzburg.

After the adjournment, Mavundla announced that the legal desk confirmed the receipt of the order but said that the meeting must continue since the sheriff was supposed to come and serve the council. This prompted a walkout by the six ABC councillors who said they could not violate the court order leaving the nine ANC and 10 IFP councillors.

Khathide then proceeded with the meeting despite an interdict and called for nominations from the floor. Ngubane and Malembe were then elected as the new Speaker unopposed.

The development was historic since the two parties never co-governed a municipality in the province before except from 1994 to 2004 where they shared power in the provincial legislature and national.

Explaining the historic decision, both Ngubane and Malembe said although the two parties have serious differences nationally and provincially they were brought together in the municipality by the failures of mayor Mavundla, adding that they felt they should put their political differences aside for the sake of uMvoti citizens.

“We know and understand this is an unusual arrangement between our parties but it was important to rise above our political differences for a common goal which is to serve the people of Umvoti,” said the two leaders.

On legal matters the two parties said they are leaving it to Cogta to deal with as it was the department’s meeting.

Both Mavundla and Masondo laughed off the election, saying it was a circus, and urged the people of uMvoti to reject it as they are still the municipality leadership.

Speaking to the media after the proceedings, Masondo who is also ABC national chairperson, said IFP and ANC just wanted to make a political statement by electing themselves despite the order.

He said the party had anticipated that the sheriff would delay and the party went to serve Cogta’s legal team with the order of it acknowledged the receiving and stamped way before the council meeting could start, adding that even the sheriff came and served Khathide before the magistrate sworn in the new leadership.

“The meeting is clearly illegal. As I speak to you I am Speaker and Mavundla is the mayor. What happened here was just a circus. In fact they are in contempt of court and must be arrested and sent to jail for disobeying the order of the court,” said Masondo.

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