New eThekwini mayor election postponed

EThekwini Council meeting which was expected to elect the mayor but the item was postponed. | Willem Phungula

EThekwini Council meeting which was expected to elect the mayor but the item was postponed. | Willem Phungula

Published Jun 25, 2024


Durban — The election of eThekwini mayor that was expected to take place on Tuesday morning has been postponed.

This was announced by the council speaker Thabani Nyawose during the sitting. The speaker cited the absence of the Electoral Commission of South Africa as the reason why the item of electing mayor would no longer be tabled.

Reacting to the announcement, the DA caucus leader Thabani Mthethwa expressed his party’s disappointment that the election was postponed “as such a position can’t be left vacant for so long”.

“It causes instability in the municipality but we’ll wait until the speaker reconvenes and we elect the new mayor. To be elected as mayor, one must be an exco member, then there must be nominations to the floor. In the event of multiple nominees, it must be put to vote.”

He concluded by saying they don’t think any of the candidates listed by the ANC are ideal for the job. They were yet to decide on whether or not the DA will field another candidate.

IFP’s Mdu Nkosi also expressed his party’s disappointment, adding he did not think the reason was the absence of the IEC officials who were going to conduct the election of the mayor. Nkosi said the IFP still holds its opposition status and they would vote for a “suitable candidate”.

The mayor’s position became vacant following Mxolisi Kaunda’s redeployment to the National Council of Provinces in the National Assembly.

After Kaunda’s removal, Cyril Xaba’s name immediately cropped up as the front-runner to replace Kaunda. The names of former police minister Bheki Cele and former KwaZulu-Natal premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube were thrown into the hat but eventually Xaba was preferred by the ANC’s national leadership, which makes the final decision on appointing metro mayors.

Xaba was a member of the provincial legislature from 1994 to 2014 where he was elected as the agriculture and rural development MEC. He did not last in the post after his faction under Senzo Mchunu had been defeated by the then pro-Jacob Zuma faction that was led by Sihle Zikalala the following year.

Xaba’s political career was resuscitated in 2019 when he was elected to the National Assembly.

Kaunda was elected mayor of eThekwini on September 5, 2019, replacing Zandile Gumede.

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