ANC defends eThekwini mayor Kaunda amid calls for him to go over the city’s serious challenges

A person holds up a sign saying #The mayor must go

EFF eThekwini councillors protested during a council sitting yesterday calling for mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to resign or be removed over service delivery problems in the city. Picture: EFF KZN via Twitter.

Published Dec 9, 2022

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Durban - Pressure is mounting on eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, amid growing calls from opposition parties for him to resign or be removed due to the sewage crisis affecting the city’s beaches, general infrastructure challenges and delays in finding accommodation for flood victims.

The EFF yesterday staged a protest at a full council meeting calling for Kaunda to go, accusing him of failing at his job. The party said Kaunda was “singing and twerking at the beach” while the city crumbled.

The DA had earlier in the week made similar calls demanding that Kaunda resign by yesterday amid sewage leaks that are threatening to bring the tourism industry in the city to its knees.

But the ANC defended Kaunda yesterday, with ANC councillor Nkosenhle Madlala arguing that it was unfair to single out Kaunda as he was not an executive mayor.

During the council meeting at the ICC, which collapsed after the DA walked out, there were dramatic scenes as the EFF staged a protest inside the “chamber” chanting “Kaunda must go”, carrying placards that read “Sewer is still floating in Ethekwini beaches” (sic) and calling for an end to tender corruption.

EFF eThekwini councillors protested during a council sitting yesterday calling for mayor Mxolisi Kaunda to resign or be removed over service delivery problems in the city. Picture: EFF KZN via Twitter.

The DA walked out as the party said if the meeting had continued it would have violated the rules of council.

Council meetings are supposed to be seated within a prescribed time. For instance, if a council meeting is scheduled for 10am, it must be seated before 10.30am or it is called off. In this instance, the meeting was scheduled to start at 10am, but was delayed until 11.10 am. The DA complained the meeting was not compliant and walked out.

EFF councillor Themba Mvubu said they were calling for Kaunda to go because he had failed in his job.

The EFF said the sewage crisis and the fact that many flood victims were still living in community halls months after the floods were urgent matters that should have been prioritised.

“These people (city officials) are going to go away on holiday while our people remain in community halls,” said Mvubu.

In response for the call for Kaunda to go, Madlala said eThekwini did not have an executive mayoral system and therefore the mayor could not be left with all the blame.

“We govern in a coalition with other parties and there is an executive committee in place. We should share in the success and take equal blame for the failures. If there are calls for resignation, they should be directed at the entire executive committee,” said Madlala.

He apologised to the councillors and public for the delays that precipitated the walk out.

DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa, speaking of their walkout from the meeting, said they could not be part of a council meeting that disregarded council rules.

“According to the notice of the meeting, the meeting was scheduled to start at 10am. Participating in the meeting would have rendered the decisions made within, invalid and dubious.

“The ailing municipality cannot afford the financial and legal ramifications of this,” he said.

The ANC said at yesterday’s meeting the party was set to announce decisions it had taken to remove deputy mayor Philani Mavundla as well as Thanduxolo Sabelo as members of the Executive Committee and by extension, as chairpersons of the portfolios they lead in the city.

In his resignation letter, Sabelo said: “Following the decision of my political party the ANC to recall me from the Executive Committee of eThekwini Municipality, I hereby tender my resignation as a member of the Executive Committee effective immediately.”

Mavundla, the president of the Abantu Batho Congress, and a bloc of smaller parties formed a coalition with the ANC after the party failed to secure outright control of the metro during last year’s local government elections.

In a trade-off, the ANC gave up one of its seats to Mavundla and also made him chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Services committee.

Mavundla yesterday said he had a legally-binding coalition agreement with the ANC that keeps him in the post until the next local government elections and he was prepared to go to court to enforce that agreement.

“I have sent them (ANC) a letter through my lawyers to say that there is a deal in place which says that I get the deputy mayor position and I get the chair of the infrastructure committee and that agreement stands,” he said.

He said he had not been given a reason why he should vacate the position.

Madlala, who is also a Regional Executive Committee member of the ANC in eThekwini, said the agreement with Mavundla had been struck with the

party’s provincial office which had decided to terminate the arrangement.

He said if Mavundla had an issue with the directive, he needed to approach the provincial leaders of the ANC.

Madlala said the ANC is engaging with other parties for a new coalition government.