Durban — Former eThekwini deputy mayor Philani Mavundla could return as speaker if a motion of no confidence against mayor Mxolisi Kaunda and speaker Thabani Nyawose comes to fruition when the full council sits next week.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily News on Tuesday, Mavundla gave detailed plans on how he intends to take over the city, together with his new bloc of political allies. He confirmed that after his unceremonious removal by the ANC, he would not be voting with the governing party any more.
The Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) party founder confirmed that he wanted mayor Kaunda and his speaker removed from their positions, and said that he would give detailed and valid reasons for their removal when the council sits next week, where he would present his motion of no confidence against them.
“If Kaunda and the ANC had listened to me, the city would not be where it is today with regards to the dilapidated infrastructure. Almost everything has totally collapsed. I have been talking to Kaunda since January 2021 on what needed to be done to prevent the disaster the city is in now, but he ignored me. I even wrote to the provincial party leadership, which also ignored me,” he said.
In a line-up that is to take over from the ANC, which this publication has seen, Mavundla appeared as speaker while DA eThekwini leader Thabani Mthethwa would be the mayor.
The IFP’s Mdu Nkosi comes in as the deputy mayor. In the same line-up, Mavundla was banking on the EFF, with its 24 seats, to add to the DA’s 59 seats and with the IFP’s 17 seats, which already gave the bloc 100 votes.
In addition, the line-up added small parties, which include ActionSA with four seats, the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC, Mavundla’s party) two, ACDP two, as well two from the Active Citizens’ Coalition (ACC), with one each from the Justice and Employment Party (JEP), KwaZulu-Natal Independent (KZNI), the African Independent Congress (AIC), Freedom Front Plus, United Independent Movement (UIM) and Democratic Liberal Congress (DLC), which gives the bloc a comfortable win of 117 votes against the ANC bloc which, according to calculations in the line-up, would garner 103 votes.
Mavundla appeared to have gone with a sizable number of small parties which he had brought to the ANC when he helped it retain power after failing to win the city with an outright majority in the 2021 local government elections.
The ANC was able to retain the city after intense negotiations led by former president Jacob Zuma, ANC NEC member Dr Zweli Mkhize and suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
The ANC is now standing at 93 seats in the council after losing ward 99 (Umkomaas) to the IFP, and with its ward 101 councillor Mzi Ngiba in jail after he was refused bail.
He was arrested for the alleged murder of the party’s candidate, Siyabonga Mkhize, just days before election day. Mkhize had won the ward posthumously. In terms of the Independent Electoral Commission, a candidate should not be replaced if he dies or pulls out shortly before elections. According to the line-up produced by Mavundla lobbyists, the ANC was left with the Truly Alliance (TA), Progressive Federal Party (PFP), Al jama-ah, Movement for One South Africa (Mosa), Minority Front (MF), African People’s Convention (APC), National Freedom Party (NFP), Adec, African Transformation Movement (ATM) as well as the People’s Revolutionary Movement (PRM), which brought the ANC bloc to 103.
Mavundla denied compiling the list, saying it was sent to him.
The DA’s Mthethwa laughed at the list and said he would be guided by his party after their caucus on Wednesday on whether he would be a mayoral candidate when the motion is tabled next week.
The IFP’s Nkosi said he was not aware of the list which proposed him as deputy mayor, saying he would also be guided by his party, which was going to meet last night, on whether he would stand.
EFF eThekwini chairperson Themba Mvubu said although its caucus in the council would also be guided by the national leadership directive, it was wrong for people to assume that just because the ANC supported an EFF candidate to get the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) chairperson position, it meant that they had formed a coalition.
“MPAC positions always go to the opposition. The ANC also supported the IFP’s Mkhuleko Hlengwa to be elected Scopa chairperson in Parliament, yet the IFP is not in coalition with the ANC, so the EFF has no coalition with the ANC and we wonder why people conclude that we will vote with the ANC in the council. We have not joined its bloc,” said Mvubu.
Mavundla said the first test of his new bloc’s power in the city would be on Thursday, when the special council meets to fill deputy mayor and chief whip positions, adding that he would personally nominate IFP caucus leader Mdu Nkosi to be deputy mayor. He was adamant Nkosi would emerge with the post.
Explaining why he felt Nkosi was good for the position, Mavundla said besides Nkosi’s vast experience in the council, he felt he owed him, since he was the one who defeated him when both contested the position while he (Mavundla) was still in the ANC bloc.
In the chief whip position, he said he would nominate ACC leader Imtiaz Syed. Attempts to get comments from Syed and other small parties which appeared on the list were unsuccessful.
In a media briefing on Tuesday, ANC secretary Bheki Mtolo said the deputy mayor’s position had been given to the small parties.