IFP has high hopes of taking ANC-led municipality

Umzumbe Local Municipality mayor Bongani Nyuswa's position as mayor uncertain. Photo: Supplied

Umzumbe Local Municipality mayor Bongani Nyuswa's position as mayor uncertain. Photo: Supplied

Published Feb 9, 2024


Durban — With the ANC torn apart by internal divisions in Umzumbe Local Municipality on the South Coast, the IFP was optimistic that it could wrest control of the municipality away from the ANC.

Exploiting ANC divisions, the IFP has filed a motion of no confidence against mayor Bongani Nyuswa and council whip Sibongiseni Cele which will be debated and voted on today (Friday).

IFP caucus leader in the municipality Jika Mthethwa said on Thursday that his party had filed a motion and was hoping to oust the ANC. Mthethwa said he was banking on the disgruntled ANC councillors who had in some cases voted with the opposition.

“We will see tomorrow what will happen. You know that no one goes to a war with the mentality of losing so I am optimistic of a victory,” he said.

Sources within the municipality said out of 21 ANC councillors eight would vote with the opposition to oust the mayor and whip and if that happened the ANC was as good as gone in Umzumbe.

After the 2021 local government elections, the ANC got 21 seats, the IFP got 14, and the EFF two. The African People’s Movement (Apemo) and the African Transformation Movement (ATM) received one each.

Jika Mthethwa, IFP whip in Umzumbe Local Municipality could be elected new mayor today taking over from ANC. Photo supplied.

A source within the ANC in the municipality said the motion was engineered by Speaker Sbonelo Maphumulo who was at war with the ANC over his expulsion from the party.

“Knowing that he has no future anymore in the municipality under (the) ANC, Maphumulo wants to leave the IFP in power,” said the source.

Maphumulo, who won ward 11, was fired by the ANC last year.

However, he was still in his position, arguing that he had appealed against his dismissal.

Maphumulo denied that he was behind the plot to dislodge the ANC.

He said he had received two motions which were filed by the opposition in November, saying “it was given to me and I had to call a meeting as the Speaker”, otherwise the opposition would have taken him to court.

He also confirmed that there was a proposal to rescind the municipal manager’s employment. The acting municipal manager was hired two weeks ago.

“She does not want to take instructions from her employer, which is the council, and takes them from external forces. So how will the council work with someone who takes instructions from outside people who are causing divisions in the municipality,” said Maphumulo.

ANC provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said the party was aware that a certain individual was plotting against it in the municipality. He said the party would act decisively.

He said the party was also aware that Maphumulo was still the Speaker because he had launched an appeal, but maintained that he was on his way out because what he was doing would help speed up internal processes.

Mndebele warned that whatever the outcome of today’s (Friday) council meeting, it would not last.

Maphumulo has been “a thorn in the ANC’s flesh” since his controversial election as Speaker in 2021.

He was accused of going against ANC caucus decisions and working with the opposition until he was eventually charged and found guilty last year.

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