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KZN Cogta MEC asks high court to cut salaries of two warring uMkhanyakude ‘mayors’

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) MEC Sipho Hlomuka presented his R1.818 billion budget 2022/2023 at the KZN Legislature in Pietermaritzburg. Picture supplied

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) MEC Sipho Hlomuka presented his R1.818 billion budget 2022/2023 at the KZN Legislature in Pietermaritzburg. Picture supplied

Published May 25, 2022

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Durban - Fearing a massive financial drain on a municipality that is already struggling, MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka has proposed that the salaries of six politicians and two municipal managers fighting over positions be slashed.

Hlomuka argued that the dispute in the uMkhanyakude District Municipality anchored in Mkuze in northern KwaZulu-Natal was destabilising.

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This is contained in papers filed by Hlomuka in the Pietermaritzburg High Court where he is seeking to preserve the status quo that would see the ANC’s Siphile Mdaka returned as mayor, Solomon Mkhombo as speaker and Zodwa Mtshali from the NFP (a coalition partner) as deputy mayor.

The case that Hlomuka said was urgent will be heard on May 30, and it has more than 10 respondents which include the IFP councillors and the district municipality itself.

The court action was sparked by a swift political coup staged by the IFP early this month after it won a court battle that gave it three more councillors and an outright majority. During the coup, three councillors were dislodged and replaced by Tim Moodley as mayor, Killer Mkhwanazi as deputy mayor and Petros Madlopha as speaker.

The ANC and NFP political office-bearers refused to leave their positions, saying the council meeting that dethroned them was illegal, thus creating a crippling power struggle and an administrative nightmare.

This was after the IFP leadership suspended acting municipal manager, Dr Siyabonga Ntuli and replaced him with Mxolisi Nkosi. Now Hlomuka wants the court to intervene until the issue that sparked the crisis has been resolved by the courts.

“The speaker, the mayor and the deputy mayor have higher salaries than ordinary councillors as do acting municipal managers. So they cannot both be paid the higher salaries. It seems best that nobody is paid pendente lite anything more than the salaries paid to ordinary councillors,” Hlomuka argued in his affidavit, which was attached to the court papers.

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