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Coalition government in eThekwini Municipality on the brink of collapse

The city hall precinct.

Durban City Hall. File Picture: Khaya Ngwenya African News Agency (ANA).

Published Dec 12, 2022


Durban -The political stability of the eThekwini Municipality is hanging in the balance as the coalition government that has been governing the metro for a year teeters on the brink of collapse following plans by the ANC to oust deputy mayor Philani Mavundla.

He is going to court today in a bid to secure a court order to stay in his post.

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.

Yesterday two parties in the smaller bloc of parties said they supported the move for Mavundla to be removed.

On the future of the coalition, the parties hinted that talks were under way to form a new government with suggestions that the EFF may be front-runners for that partnership. If the EFF forms a coalition with the ANC, the smaller parties may not be needed in the agreement.

Mavundla told The Mercury yesterday that the ANC had not responded to a lawyers’ letter he had sent to them last Thursday, after he learnt that the party wanted him to resign from his post.

“We are going to court,” he said, detailing that the intention was to get an order that prevents the ANC from forcing him out of his position as he said he had a written agreement with the party.

eThekwini Municipality deputy mayor Philani Mavundla. File Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

Mavundla, along with ANC councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo, were to be axed at a full council meeting last week but the sitting degenerated into chaos.

Sabelo handed in his resignation as the chairperson of the Economic Development cluster after receiving an order from his party to resign.

Mavundla is adamant that the ANC cannot force him to resign.

“There are only three ways I could be removed from the post, if I stop being a councillor that is, if I die or miss council meetings (expelled by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs), or get fired by my party or I am voted out of the deputy mayor post through a motion of no confidence, but that motion only has powers to remove me as deputy mayor not an Exco member.”

ANC councillor Nkosenhle Madlala said last week that the coalition agreement between Mavundla and the ANC was approved by the ANC provincial office and it was that office that had given a directive that it be terminated.

Madlala said the termination of the agreement also had the support of the smaller parties that had backed Mavundla.

Adec leader Visvin Reddy said it was true that the smaller parties no longer wanted Mavundla in that post, as he had used them for his benefit.

Reddy admitted that the current coalition was heading for collapse.

“I don’t think the ANC would drop Mavundla if they did not secure the support of another bloc. It all began when the ANC offered the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) chair position to the EFF. I suspect that’s where the deal was struck. The EFF has sufficient numbers to secure an ANC win, even without the smaller parties.”

Canaan Mdletshe of the National Freedom Party said they supported Mavundla’s removal. “The NFP is in fact chairing the bloc of smaller parties and the removal of Mr Mavundla is not only supported by the NFP but by other smaller parties as well,” said Mdletshe.

EFF leader Themba Mvubu said any talks with the ANC would be taking place at a national level.