‘Front-runner’ for eThekwini deputy mayor post calls for mature leadership

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

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

Published Jan 24, 2023


Durban - The presumed front-runner for the post of deputy mayor in eThekwini Municipality, National Freedom Party (NFP) councillor Zandile Myeni, has called for “politically mature” people to be appointed in positions of leadership to ensure a stable government in the city.

She said the city faced many service-delivery challenges and could not afford to be bogged down in political squabbles.

Myeni, in an interview with The Mercury yesterday, said it was important that those who assumed leadership positions in the city were experienced and understood that the positions went beyond politics.

She has been touted, even by leaders of her party, as the next deputy mayor. The position became vacant following the ousting of Philani Mavundla.

Mavundla, president of Abantu Batho Congress (ABC), was deployed as deputy mayor following a coalition agreement between the ANC and a bloc of smaller parties after the local government elections in 2021. His tenure was characterised by hostilities between himself and mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.

The council is expected to hold a special council meeting this week where it is set to announce the new deputy mayor and council whip.

The ANC was scheduled to meet members of the bloc of smaller parties last week, but that meeting has apparently been rescheduled for today.

Asked directly about her being appointed as deputy mayor, Myeni said: “I know nothing about that, that information I have only seen in news articles published by The Mercury.

“The negotiations with the ANC to fill the posts are going smoothly.

“But at the moment there is nothing to communicate as nothing has been finalised,” she said.

“What I would like to make clear though is that this coalition needs to be stable in order for the municipality to be able to deliver services.”

She said those who were appointed had to understand that the positions were not about them but about the residents of eThekwini.

“It cannot be about individuals and egos. We cannot have a situation (where one councillor) encroaches in an area that is outside their own jurisdiction.”

Myeni spoke of a municipality governed in a coalition that functions well.

“There is a municipality governed in coalition between the NFP and the ANC. The mayor is an NFP (member) and the deputy is an ANC (member) and the deputy used to be the mayor, but there is no instability there, because the leaders understand that this is not about them.

“There are other municipalities like that in the province, they are stable, we need to be asking ourselves what are they doing right,” she said.

ATM councillor Lwazi Nkonyeni, who is a member of the opposition bloc, said the meeting that was meant to take place last week did not happen as the ANC said it had some issues to sort out.

ANC provincial spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said the negotiations were almost complete and the outcomes would be made public soon.