Dear opposition political parties,
I am writing to urge you all to support my motion against the current ANC speaker of eThekwini Municipality. This motion will be tabled at the full council meeting later this month and presents an opportunity for us to unite against the ANC and take action to restore eThekwini to its former glory.
As you are all aware, the ANC did not receive an outright majority in the last election, and it was through much of our support as smaller parties that they were able to regain control of the municipality. However, it is evident that under the control of the ANC, eThekwini is now another failed state. It is left up to us to correct the mistake we made to save our city. Future generations will judge us harshly if we don't act now.
The current speaker of eThekwini Municipality has proven to be the weakest that has ever held this position. He has demonstrated time and time again that he does not have the necessary skills to manage a complex council such as ours. He was never a councillor before his appointment and had zero experience in this field. The speaker is a backer of (Cyril) Ramaphosa, which is why he was deployed to this critical position despite his lack of experience.
It has now been over a year since councillors were elected, and to date, almost a quarter of them do not have offices. This is a crucial tool for any councillor to perform their functions, and the speaker is responsible for finalising and allocating these offices.
On several occasions, the speaker has had to be corrected by councillors on his understanding of the rules of the council and interpretation of the Municipal Systems Act. He has made decisions that contradict these laws and often silences councillors when they make legitimate points in debates. These actions are not those of a good leader, and he is clearly unfit to hold office.
More concerning is his mishandling of the city manager issue. He has displayed a clear bias towards the city manager by misleading councillors. He informed the party whips that there were no ongoing investigations against the head of the administration (city manager). At the full council meeting, I pressed the speaker to confirm his comments, and at a subsequent council meeting held in committee, it was confirmed by the mayor that two independent investigations are under way in which the city manager is implicated. The fact that the speaker defended the city manager by misleading councillors means that he has failed to do his job.
As parties that are not represented on Exco we are often kept in the dark on critical issues debated in this committee. We have to rely on the media to keep abreast of what’s going on. A case in point is the issue of the city manager. The speaker has failed to co-ordinate political parties.
This motion provides the opposition parties with an opportunity to displace the ANC, and if you fail to support it, it sends the message that you tacitly support an ANC-led eThekwini Municipality and all the disasters that follow. I have noticed that parties like the EFF have been bought off by the ANC with certain positions, resulting in the EFF becoming another ANC front in eThekwini.
I do not think that EFF leader Julius Malema would take kindly to this if he knew. The EFF and some smaller parties also conveniently leave meetings when controversial decisions are taken, which I have no doubt are done by agreement with the ANC.
In conclusion, we have an opportunity to undo what was done at the inauguration of this council by supporting my motion and taking a stand against the current speaker. We must take action and stop making public statements about our unhappiness with the way eThekwini is run by the ANC. It is time to act. Abstaining is not an option. Leaders are judged by the decisions they make and ultimately by supporting residents and not narrow, selfish, political agendas.
I hope to see your support for my motion at the upcoming full council meeting. The public is entitled to know on which side of the fence you sit.
Councillor Visvin Reddy is ADeC leader.