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Showdown over eThekwini deputy mayor position today

A special council meeting is expected to be held today to elect an executive committee member, deputy mayor and whip of council

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

Published Feb 3, 2023


Durban - Opposition parties in eThekwini say that the outcome of today’s council meeting, where a deputy mayor and council whip are set to be elected, will set the tone for future engagements between the ANC and the parties that want to remove it.

Yesterday, the municipality confirmed that eThekwini Speaker Thabani Nyawose had called a special council meeting as a continuation of the meeting that was adjourned from Thursday last week.

“It is being reconvened with the purpose of filling the office bearers’ vacancies that exist in the municipal council. These include an executive committee member, deputy mayor and whip of council,” said the statement.

For the deputy mayor position, it is expected that the name of an EFF councillor will be put forward with the backing of the ANC, along with IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi.

EFF spokesperson Nkululeko Ngubane indicated that discussions over the leadership positions in the city were handled at national level.

“The fact is we are likely to know before going to sleep whether we should field a candidate. As you will appreciate that this is a metro council, and that is why talks over leadership are handled at senior level. Let us see whose name gets raised tomorrow,” he said.

Ngubane himself resigned as deputy mayor at uMhlathuze Municipality this week following instructions from party leader Julius Malema. This came after the EFF announced its parting of ways with the IFP in councils where they had governed in coalitions.

The IFP’s Nkosi said he had not been party to discussions but was aware that an IFP councillor was being considered to run for deputy mayor.

“If my name is raised as a candidate it would not be wise to disappoint my colleagues because this thing is not about an individual,” he said.

He said that there were massive challenges facing the city.

“The people of eThekwini want to see a clean city with a constant supply of clean water and electricity. We need to put aside our political differences and deal with these issues,” he said.

ActionSA KwaZulu-Natal leader and eThekwini councillor Zwakele Mncwango said: “The fact is that if opposition parties worked together it would be possible to remove the ANC. The key here is to place the interests of the residents of the city first.”

He warned that failing to work together would mean that opposition parties were complicit in eThekwini’s downfall.

DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said they would vote for any candidate who would stand against the ANC.

“Our stance is that we do not want an ANC stooge, because that is how the city came to be on its knees,” he said.

According to yesterday’s statement from the municipality, the special meeting won’t consider the deferred urgent vote of no confidence against mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.

In the last council meeting on Tuesday, Active Citizens Coalition councillor Imtiaz Syed opted to shelve the vote of no confidence because the meeting had been virtual. Syed said he would continue pushing for the motion today, but stressed that it was being done in the interests of the people of eThekwini.

ANC spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said the party wasn’t worried about the motion of no confidence.