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Questions over eThekwini Municipality deputy mayor position, bodyguards, vehicle already allocated

Durban City Hall. Picture: Terry Haywood

Durban City Hall. Picture: Terry Haywood

Published Aug 16, 2021

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DURBAN - ETHEKWINI Municipality is facing a demand for answers after revelations that an ordinary councillor tipped to become deputy mayor is already enjoying the benefits of the position despite not being officially appointed.

Councillor Diana Hoorzuk, who is expected to become the deputy mayor of the city, has been allocated bodyguards and a council vehicle by the municipality. The office of the mayor confirmed the allocations, but defended them, saying Hoorzuk was entitled to them.

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It said Hoorzuk was an executive committee member and the chair of the finance and emergency services committee. The position of deputy mayor has been vacant for more than five months after Belinda Scott resigned earlier this year.

Attempts to elect Hoorzuk to the deputy mayor position during a council meeting last month failed as ANC councillors opposed to her election did not attend. Her use of council resources has, however, raised eyebrows with opposition parties who said it was not normal.

“I am an executive committee member and I have no bodyguards, nor do the DA’s Nicole Graham and Thabani Mthethwa.

“The ANC (council) should explain to us why they have given ordinary councillors bodyguards. Before the council can provide you with protection, a threat assessment needs to be conducted, they should tell us when that was done,” said IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi.

He said it seemed the municipality assumed that it was “a given” that Hoorzuk would be elected, and they gave her perks that she did not yet qualify for. Nkosi said it was shameful that the party had failed to elect a deputy mayor despite its big majority in the council. “I am concerned that the division in the ANC caucus could have a negative impact on service delivery, for instance the council meeting that failed to sit in July had many crucial items that were responding to service delivery.”

Graham said the situation was completely unacceptable.

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“The whole thing has been badly handled, she (Hoorzuk) seems to have security, I am not sure whether her risk assessment has been done, but I doubt it.

“The whole thing is completely mad. It goes to show that the ANC in eThekwini are so far from being able to govern they can’t even get the basics right – it’s a joke of a situation. I don’t see it being resolved before the local government elections, and it’s an indictment,” she said.

Mayoral spokesperson Mluleki Mntungwa said even though Hoorzuk has not been elected, she was the chairperson of a committee and was entitled to council resources.

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Asked whether Hoorzuk was using the official deputy mayor’s car, he declined to answer, saying security matters were sensitive in nature.

The provincial manager for the SA Local Government Association (Salga), Sabelo Gwala, said it could be that the Speaker of the municipality, Weziwe Thusi, had presumed that the meeting to elect Hoorzuk would go well and had already allocated her (Hoorzuk) tasks, and that was why she was using the council car.

“That car would be allocated per trip as per duties of the council; it would not be for normal use like going to work,” he said.

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He said the allocation of bodyguards could be seen as irregular if no threat assessment had been done because, at the moment, Hoorzuk did not occupy the deputy mayor position that would automatically qualify her for bodyguards.

THE MERCURY

Related Topics:

City of Ethekwini

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