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DA says all Howick jobs are safe after they took over the running of the uMngeni Local Municipality

uMngeni Municipality mayor-elect Chris Pappas, DA provincial leader Francois Rogers and new deputy mayor-elect Sandile Mnikathi. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

uMngeni Municipality mayor-elect Chris Pappas, DA provincial leader Francois Rogers and new deputy mayor-elect Sandile Mnikathi. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Nov 9, 2021

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DURBAN - THE DA in KwaZulu-Natal has dismissed rumours it requested staff at uMngeni Municipality to re-apply for their positions.

After the party won the Howick-based municipality, social media was abuzz with rumours the DA would purge staff who worked under the ANC.

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Mayor-elect Chris Pappas, speaking on Monday during the announcement that Sandile Mnikathi was the municipality’s deputy mayor-elect, said there was no truth to rumours the DA had asked workers to submit their CVs and re-apply for the jobs they held while the municipality was under the ANC.

Pappas, who also speaks Zulu fluently, said the DA would never purge the staff and was prepared to work with everyone, including the managers.

However, he warned they would not tolerate people who undermined the new leadership. The party also dismissed rumours 30 staff had resigned because of the DA win.

“The DA is not on a witch-hunt and would work with all the municipality staff. While coming to this briefing I checked the truthfulness of these rumours and I was assured that no staff has resigned, but we are not going to stop anyone from leaving on his or her own,” Pappas said.

DA provincial leader Francois Rogers said the party was proud to nominate Mnikathi as deputy mayor-elect and was confident their mayor and deputy combination would benefit uMngeni residents.

“The DA in KZN has full faith in Sandile and his leadership, and believes that alongside mayor-elect Pappas, they will rebuild uMngeni to be the shining example of how a transparent, corrupt-free municipality can deliver services to its residents.

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“We wish Sandile well on this new role in government and commit to providing our support to this exciting new administration,” Rogers said.

He added Mnikathi went through a rigorous candidate selection process that the DA subjected all its public representatives to. Mnikathi promised to work hard to change the lives of the people of uMngeni for the better. He thanked the DA for the confidence they had in him.

Mnikathi, 26, was born and raised at Mpophomeni, a small township outside Howick.

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He helped the DA to win the municipality by snatching ward 3 from the ANC in last week’s local government elections. He joined the DA’s student wing, the DA Student Organisation while at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg campus, and was active in its structures.

He holds a BA of social science in political science and philosophy. He also holds an Honours degree in international relations and is studying towards a PhD in political science. He is a member of the DA provincial executive committee and provincial management committee.

The DA said it would announce the new speaker and executive committee members on Thursday, and the inauguration was expected to be held on Friday.

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The party also announced it would follow up on the disciplinary hearing of suspended municipal manager Thembeka Cibane. The process had already started and the DA would also examine reports of corruption with the aim of ensuring those found guilty of stealing public funds would be held accountable.

The DA said it was also monitoring the safety of its members in uMngeni including the former deputy mayor Nompumelelo Buthelezi, who resigned from the ANC and joined the DA on the eve of the electrons.

The DA said it would provide her with security if required and it would be paid for by the party.

There were rumours the DA would announce her as deputy mayor-elect, but Pappas said she joined the party without any expectations of being given a position.

In the 25-seat council, the DA won 13 seats, while the ANC won 10 and the EFF two.

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