An ANC councillor in the Ulundi Local Municipality, northern KwaZulu-Natal has won the first round in his court application to have the decision to recall him set aside.
On Thursday, the Pietermaritzburg High Court granted an interdict in favour of Mziwakhe Dubazane, halting his removal from the council on the directive of the ANC in the Mzala Nxumalo region (Zululand).
JUST IN: The Pietermaritzburg High Court has granted an order interdicting the ANC from removing Mziwakhe Dubazane as a councillor of the party from Ulundi local municipality. The party intended to remove him today, but he dashed to court, saying Ntokozo Nxumalo— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) June 29, 2023
Dubazane was issued with a letter from the party's Mzala Nxumalo Region (Zululand), recalling him from the council.
An aggrieved Dubazane unleashed his lawyers on the party, calling on the ANC to retract its letter by June 28 or face legal action - a directive they ignored.
On Thursday morning, an hour before his removal was tabled before the council and approved, Dubazane’s matter was heard and he won the first round.
He claimed that the ANC’s regional secretary, Ntokozo Nxumalo, was working in cahoots with the municipal manager, Sandile Khomo, to remove him from his Ulundi Executive Committee (Exco) position.
In court papers, Dubazane’s lawyer, advocate Ndumiso Xulu argued that his client’s removal from the council was in contravention of the Local Government, Municipal Structures Act 117 of 1998.
JUST IN: The ANC in the Mzala Nxumalo region (Zululand) is being dragged to the Pietermaritzburg High Court by Mziwakhe Dubazane, a councillor the party intends to remove from the Ulundi local municipality. In his urgent court papers filed a short while ago and where he wants to pic.twitter.com/PLpnsf4ak6— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) June 28, 2023
In his affidavit, Dubazane argued that Nxumalo is not a councillor and cannot bring a motion to remove a councillor as a member of the Exco.
Dubazane won a reprieve when his removal was halted and the court ordered all parties to show cause by August 1 why the order should not be final.
"A rule nisi be issued calling upon the First (Khomo) and the Third Respondent (Nxumalo) to show cause if any on August 1, 2023 at 9.30am or so soon thereafter why the following orders should not be made final.
“That the decision (removing the Applicant as a member of the executive committee of Ulundi Local Municipality) which was made by the First Respondent, on the date which is unknown to the Applicant, was published in the agenda for the executive committee meeting.
“And also in the agenda of the council meeting of Ulundi Local Municipality which was issued and published on June 27, 2023, be and is hereby reviewed, declared to be in contravention of section 53 of the Local Government: Municipal Structures Act, unlawful, invalid and set aside.
“That it is declared that the Regional Secretary of the African National Congress had no power to issue an instruction, instructing the First Respondent to remove the Applicant as a member of the Executive Committee of Ulundi Local Municipality.
“That it is declared that the letter dated June 22, 2023 which was issued by the Regional Secretary of the African National Congress, does not constitute a motion which may be considered, debated and acted upon by council to remove the Applicant as the member of the Executive Committee of Ulundi Local Municipality.
“That the Executive Committee and Council of Ulundi Local Municipality be interdicted and restrained from discussing, considering and deliberating on the letter and also on the report which is marked as item A3 at its meetings which are scheduled to take place and held on June 29, 2023 at 10am and 12pm.
“That the First and Third Respondent be ordered to pay costs of this application,” read the court order that favoured Dubazane.
After his removal, the ANC intended to replace Dubazane with Thokozani Sikhakhane, the deputy regional chairperson, who was elected during a regional conference in Vryheid last year.
The move to replace him with Sikhakhane has fuelled suspicions among some in the region that he was being pushed aside as he was part of the losing faction at last year’s elective conference.
The ANC in the region and the Ulundi local municipality had not yet commented regarding the ruling.