Ousted eThekwini mayor bids farewell as political parties insist it was long overdue

EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. Picture: Supplied

EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 13, 2024


Durban — In what would be his last public appearance as eThekwini Municipality mayor Mxolisi Kaunda will hold a media briefing on Thursday to bid farewell and reflect on his stint as the mayor of the only Metro in KwaZulu-Natal.

Kaunda was hastily recalled on Wednesday evening as the mayor was proffered to the National Assembly as a new member of the National Council of Provinces. It is not yet clear what role he would play there since he was not on the provincial to national list of the ANC.

In a short media invite issued by his office in the late hours of Wednesday, it said the mayor would address the residents of eThekwini without revealing any details. The ANC was mum on Wednesday night to explain what exactly prompted the sudden redeployment of the mayor ahead of changes in the national assembly and provincial legislature. The party did not also want to be drawn on why it felt Kaunda must leave after dismal showing of the party in the province and eThekwini during the recent elections.

The eThekwini region, which has been a traditional stronghold of the ANC since the dawn of democracy, fell to the six-month old uMkhonto weSizwe Party (MKP). The ANC even lost to the DA, which maintained its second biggest party status in the City.

Reacting to the news, EFF caucus leader in eThekwini Themba Mvubu said he welcomed Kaunda’s removal, saying it was long overdue since the EFF has been saying the City was collapsing because of his poor leadership. He said everyone knew that the EFF had long wanted Kaunda out, which was evident by its support for several motions of no confidence against him. In the last motion, which was filed by the IFP, Kaunda was saved by small parties.

IFP leader in eThekwini, Mdu Nkosi questioned if news about Kaunda’s redeployment was true, why did it take so long.

“We had discussions with residents and ratepayers as they protested and complained about service. Despite the lack of service, ratepayers found themselves receiving higher bills.”

Nkosi said that he previously spoke on Kaunda’s arrival in 2019 – when he was elected as mayor of eThekwini – and said that Kaunda had promised change.

“It seems we have taken five steps back because there’s been no change. The auditor-general revealed from 2019, irregular expenditure has increased astronomically,” Nkosi said.

He said when that kind of information was revealed, Kaunda would deny it.

“When one speaks of a state-of-the-city address, it’s going to be a cut-and-paste job because nothing new will be revealed. You will hear repetition on challenges and ways to combat them.”

Nkosi said the major issue in the City was water security and that even residents in affluent areas were experiencing such issues. He repeated the point that Kaunda should have been removed at the same time that opposition parties raised their issues.

DA eThekwini Caucus Leader Thabani Mthethwa said the DA had long been calling for the removal of Kaunda and welcomed the action that was to finally remove him.

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

He was re-elected after the 2021 local government elections. He survived motions of no-confidence, which were brought by opposition parties including the EFF – an ally of the ANC in KZN.

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