Politics will win over people

Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/ Independent Newspapers

Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/ Independent Newspapers

Published Jun 15, 2024


Durban — There were several developments leading to Friday’s formation of a government of national unity, which includes the ANC, DA and IFP.

On Thursday the DA announced the election of new leadership in the provincial legislature; on the same day rival factions of Jacob Zuma’s uMkhonto weSizwe Party fought outside the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature over whose list of candidates to be sworn in on Friday was legitimate; and earlier in the week, and without warning, the ANC fired eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.

The last was long overdue, and will be widely welcomed across the municipal district. It is true that Kaunda inherited a poisoned chalice; replacing the embattled Zandile Gumede in September 2019 amid the latter’s struggle to clear her name of corruption charges, he took over a council presiding over widespread service delivery failures, compounded by extensive damage from several natural disasters and the July 2021 riots.

Re-elected as mayor after the 2021 local government elections, Kaunda oversaw the further degradation of the city’s infrastructure to its current pitiful state, surviving votes of no-confidence brought by opposition parties thanks to the protection of the ANC and smaller parties.

It can only be assumed that his removal forms part of the reciprocity needed to return Cyril Ramaphosa to the presidency, and is part of the agreement which formed the government of national unity.

Time will tell, but the DA’s curious failure to lay the blame for Kaunda’s failures at the door of his party was also telling. Kaunda failed the people of the district, and he failed his party, as evidenced by the ANC’s electoral performance in the area. His reward is to be sent to the National Chamber of Provinces, which has the important task of considering national legislation.

Since the outcome of the elections the DA’s John Steenhuisen has repeatedly said they would be forming the GNU with the interests of the people of South Africa in mind. Kaunda’s appointment suggests political expediency will instead win over the nation’s interests.

Independent on Saturday