Durban – The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in KwaZulu-Natal says it is monitoring the worrisome situation in the uMkhanyakude District Municipality where a power tussle between the ANC and the IFP has crippled operations.
The tussle over the municipality started on Tuesday when the IFP claimed it kicked the ANC out of power through a vote of no confidence.
The district municipality, which is anchored in the farming town of Mkuze, comprises Jozini, Mtubatuba, Hlabisa – Big Five False Bay (St Lucia) and Umhlabuyalingana local municipalities.
According to Innocent Mkhwanazi, one of the senior leaders of the IFP in the region, they reclaimed the district municipality after a special council sitting where ANC’s Siphile Mdaka was voted out and Tim Moodley from the IFP took over.
“Yes, we have taken over the district.
“The new mayor is Tim Moodley, his deputy is K Mkhwanazi and the speaker is Petros Madlopha,” Mkhwanazi said.
Later, Mdaka disputed the IFP’s claim that it had taken over the municipality through a vote of no confidence.
He said the meeting was illegally convened, and it did not meet the required quorum as only 17 councillors were present.
“I am still the mayor of the district. What happened today was illegal and in violation of all laws governing local governments,” Mdaka said.
Solomon Mkhombo, the council’s “speaker” who is also from the ANC in the region, gave a detailed account of what transpired on Tuesday.
He said the IFP wrote to him on Saturday requesting a council meeting, and even though it was a long weekend with no staff, he took the initiative to respond to them.
Furthermore, Mkhombo said he alerted the IFP that it was jumping the gun because there were still legal issues concerning Mtubatuba, which gave them an upper hand in the district.
“No one was refusing to convene the meeting they requested.
“For them to have legitimacy, everything should be done according to the law.
“We are not a banana republic,” Mkhombo said.
Mkhombo added that the IFP must know that all the decisions that were taken during the council meeting on Tuesday “amount to zero”.
“Siphile Mdaka is still the mayor, Zodwa Mtshali is still the deputy mayor, and I am still the speaker of the council.”
The spokesperson of Cogta in the province, Nonala Ndlovu, said both the Mtubatuba Local Municipality whose voting process sparked the tussle at the district level and the uMkhanyakude District Municipality is under their watch.
“Both Mtubatuba and uMkhanyakude are still under intervention in terms of section 139(1)(b).
“We are currently monitoring the situation going on and one on one engagements were conducted per week with both municipalities to ensure that both municipalities continue to render their services,” Ndlovu said.