Durban - The decision by the eThekwini Municipality executive committee to reorganise some of the units that fell under the mandate of the Human Settlement and Infrastructure Services (HSI) committee has been reversed amid concerns over the legality of the move.
Opposition parties, however, have interpreted the decision as a dramatic climb-down by the ANC, saying the party is being pushed into a corner by its coalition partners.
Last week the ANC held a briefing to inform the public on the reconfiguration of the city’s committees.
It announced that finance and emergency services would be split. Finance would be a standalone committee and another committee would be formed for security and emergency services, increasing the number of committees in the city from five to six.
NFP councillor Zandile Myeni, who is deputy mayor, was appointed chairperson of the new security and emergency services committee.
The ANC further announced that units like water, electricity and Durban Solid Waste which had fallen under the control of the HSI committee would be moved to the Economic Development and Planning Committee (Ecod).
EFF councillor Thabane Miya was also announced as the new chairperson of the HSI committee.
The move of trading services to the Ecod was met with surprise by opposition party councillors who said it did not make sense.
During the executive committee meeting yesterday, ANC councillor Nkosenhle Madlala raised the possibility that splitting the committee’s mandate might not be legal.
He said while exco had the powers to appoint chairpersons of committees and delegate the functions of those committees, it did not have the power to create new committees or split committees, as this was the function of the council.
“We have done the correct thing by appointing chairpersons but with that we did an offending thing (splitting the committee), we should reverse this and state that the trading services return to HSI,” said Madlala.
Miya described the backtracking as “returning the intestines to the cow’s stomach”, as he illustrated the importance of the trading services functions to the HSI committee.
“We had told the ANC that the committee should not be split, it should be as it was before, only to find that they had changed this.
“It looks like this was an attempt to curtail our powers in the committee,” he said.
Other opposition parties saw the backtracking as the ANC pandering to demands from its political allies.