Former Jacob Zuma financial backer Philani Mavundla on move once again

Popular KZN property tycoon and politician Philani Mavundla is on the political move once again.

Popular KZN property tycoon and politician Philani Mavundla is on the political move once again.

Published Jan 19, 2020


Durban - Popular KZN property tycoon and politician Philani Mavundla is on the political move once again.

Mavundla shot to fame by openly claiming he financially propped up former President Jacob Zuma in the early days of Zuma's corruption trial.

Mavundla has since dumped the faction crippled National Freedom Party (NFP) of Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi and he is believed to be on the verge of starting his own party just before the Easter holidays. 

In a letter written by Mavundla to the municipal manager of Umvoti (Greytown) local municipality in the KZN Midlands, he said he resigned because he could not serve as an NFP councillor “when I have assumed the membership of another political party.” 

The letter was later leaked to Independent Media by municipal insiders on Friday evening. However, in the letter he did not name the party and efforts to reach him failed as his cell phone was switched off for the better part of Sunday. 

In the same letter he also said he submitted his immediate resignation to all the relevant bodies like the Independent Elections Commission (IEC) in order to pave way for by-elections in the ward within the stipulated 90 day period.  

“It is common knowledge that any ward cannot survive for extended periods without there being a ward councillor… My resignation as the National Freedom Party ward representative is therefore submitted with immediate effect and without reservation,” Mavundla said in the letter. 

Mavundla who in 2014 offered to settle Zuma’s R7 million Nkandla upgrades bill, joined the troubled party in July last year after dumping the ANC. 

He later told Independent Media that “political killings and corruption” by members of the ruling party were some of the reasons he dumped the ruling party. A month later, the NFP fielded him as a candidate at ward 5 of the municipality and he helped it to wrestle the ward from the ANC and he later vowed that he was going to rid the municipality of the “rampant corruption crippling under the current mayor.” 

Mavundla’s resignation letter carried the address of Mavundla Square, a gigantic mall in the heart of the rural town of Greytown. It shows that it was written on January 11, 2020 but it was received by the municipality two days later, as shown by the official stamp it bears. 

Political analyst Xolani Dube of Durban-based Xubera Institute, said it would be suicidal for Mavundla to start his own political party as he was not known outside KZN. Dube also said one of Mavundla’s glaring weak points was that he is not willing to be led by others. 

“I don’t think the political party he would start it would have people who are really going to rock the boat when it comes to his leadership. He is a person who treats himself like a traditional King, he wants people who are going to be submissive to him and who will serve him,” Dube said. 

Dube also did not rule out seeing Mavundla rejoining the ANC or even moving over to the Democratic Alliance (DA), saying Mavundla appears to be a man who wants political power just to ensure that his business interests are politically ring-fenced. 

Political Bureau

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