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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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ANC in eThekwini accused of interfering in municipal duties

The newly elected eThekwini ANC regional leadership has been accused of hijacking the work of the eThekwini Municipality by establishing a nerve centre to co-ordinate the government’s response to the floods.

Workers from the City’s electricity unit carry out repairs in uMlazi yesterday. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Apr 19, 2022


DURBAN - THE NEWLY elected eThekwini ANC regional leadership has been accused of hijacking the work of the eThekwini Municipality by establishing a nerve centre to co-ordinate the government’s response to the floods.

A letter has emerged that shows that the ANC leaders had met with municipal officials and gave a directive that a nerve centre be formed that would co-ordinate the flood relief efforts.

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The revelations have stunned opposition parties in the council, who said it was astonishing that a party whose leaders had been implicated in acts of corruption was seeking to direct government work in order to get closer to state resources destined for those affected by the recent storms.

Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede was re-elected a few days ago as the regional chairperson of the ANC in eThekwini.

However, an ANC source rubbished the allegations of interference, saying the directive was meant to co-ordinate the relief efforts and ensure that there was clear communication so that flood victims could be assisted as quickly as possible.

Musa Nciki, the party’s regional secretary, said the meeting was held with ANC councillors deployed to the various committees.

He said they too formed part of the municipality’s staff.

“Let me clarify, it was not with the municipal administrative staff members,” he said.

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The letter states: “Today (last week) we had a joint meeting between the REC (regional executive committee) and senior officials of the metro.”

It goes on to state that each zone should establish a disaster nerve centre with the structure consisting of the following staff: zonal chairperson and secretary, branch chairperson and secretaries, zonal ward councillors and all PR zonal councillors, constituency office administrator, one official from the municipality and an REC deployee.

“Leadership of branches are expected to comply with this directive. All communication and reports, whether from ward, branches or metro, will go though this nerve centre.

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“All service delivery (food, blanket, soup kitchen, water etc. related to the disaster will go via this nerve centre. There will be no minister, MEC or metro official that will go to the wards or branches without guidance by your nerve centre,” it said.

It also instructed that the REC deployees would lead these nerve centres. DA leader Thabani Mthethwa described the revelations as “shocking”.

“If they wanted to collect donations and distribute it to the community, we would not have a problem with that. We have a problem with a politically aligned centre playing such a role on government matters.

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“These are government programmes, and political parties should not play any role in them. It is concerning that people, some of them who are attending criminal cases, want to get so close to the management of public resources,” he said.

Mthethwa said the DA was also collecting donations to give to communities, and that the ANC should be doing the same and should not interfere with government programmes.

IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said he had seen the letter and it spoke to the concerns that were being expressed by the community that the relief funds could be looted.

“This is a very painful time for the community of eThekwini, many have lost everything. There are officials who are in charge of this, and there is no need to politicise the situation. This speaks to the greed of the party,” he said.

EFF executive committee member Thabane Miya said there was nothing wrong with assisting those who were displaced, “but we know they have a bad culture, some of the aid might not get to those who need it and some might be distributed in a selective manner, or stolen”.

Nciki defended the ANC for its decision, describing the party as the leader of society.

“It is necessary to have a co-ordinated way to respond to this disaster, and that is the purpose being served by this nerve centre.”