DURBAN - IFP stalwart Petros Ngubane, 63, has been re-elected as mayor of uMzinyathi District Municipality.
Ngubane, who was elected unopposed, was sworn in at the inaugural council meeting at Dundee Battlefield Resort on Monday.
In the 29-seat council the IFP won 15 seats followed by the ANC with 11, the Abantu Batho Congress with two and the DA with one. The deputy mayor’s position went to Thembisile Mchunu, and former Msinga mayor Felenkosini Sikhakhane was re-elected as speaker.
The election of the IFP troika means that the party controls all municipalities in the region, having taken Umvoti (Greytown) and Endumeni (Dundee) from the ANC with the help of the DA and EFF. The party also retained Nquthu and Msinga.
In his maiden speech the mayor said he and his team would speed up water and sanitation projects in areas under Nquthu and Msinga, where these services were lagging behind.
The mayor also said he would work hard to ensure all households were electrified.
“I thank my party for the confidence it has shown in me by reappointing me as mayor. I commit myself to working hard to service the people of uMzinyathi. I also want to urge Eskom to sort out its power generation problems because electricity is also needed in delivering water and sanitation services,” the mayor said.
The inaugural council meeting was attended by party founder and president emeritus Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who was accompanied by Zulu royal family spokesperson Prince Thulani Zulu, as well as amakhosi.
Delivering his congratulatory speech, Buthelezi advised the new councillors to work with traditional leaders, adding that they had been governing these areas way before the democratic dispensation.
Arts and Culture MEC Hlengiwe Mavimbela also graced the inauguration as a district champion MEC.
Meanwhile, the ANC retained the troubled uMkhanyakude Municipality. The municipality, in upper northern KwaZulu-Natal, held its inaugural council on Monday where Mandla Ndlela was elected as mayor. Former mayor Solomon Mkhondo took the speaker's position. The deputy mayor and chief whip positions went to Esther Mtshali and Siyabonga Khumalo respectively.
Although the ANC lost votes in local municipalities, it managed to hold on to uMkhanyakude.
It received 18 seats against the IFP’s 15 and the EFF’s two, and their coalition could not help them. The municipality was beset with political and administration problems, which led to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka stripping the council of its powers and appointing Bamba Ndwandwe as administrator.
District municipalities have until next Wednesday to hold their inaugural councils and elect new leadership. There are 10 district municipalities in the province, and one metro.
King Cetshwayo, which covers Umhlathuze, Nkandla, Mlalazi (Eshowe) and Mthonjaneni (Melmoth) local municipalities, sat on Friday and elected IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli as mayor.
Ntuli had been mayor in Nkandla for two terms previously.