Durban - An ANC-NFP coalition has wrested power from the IFP in the Nongoma local municipality.
The northern KwaZulu-Natal municipality is the political crown jewel of the IFP since it is the seat of the Zulu monarch.
The disputed ousting of the IFP Mayor, Albert Mncwango, happened on Tuesday after a special council sitting on Monday ended in chaos.
According to local media waiting outside the chambers of the council after being denied entry, IFP councillors did not take part in the sitting and were ousted in absentia.
Other reports suggested that the IFP councillors were not called to the meeting and voted out in absentia, hence the party’s threat of nullifying the results through the courts.
The secretary-general of the NFP, Canaan Mdletshe, told IOL that the council sitting elected Clifford Mshangane Ndabandaba as the new mayor.
Ndabandaba is a long-standing member of the NFP and was very close to the late founder of the party, Zanele KaMagwaza-Msibi.
However, Mncwango told IOL that they were still in power.
“We don’t recognise the meeting and we will not accept any decision that will be taken out of it,” he said, insisting that he was still the mayor.
The NFP’s claims were corroborated by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, which said the ousting of Mncwango had ended the IFP’s “dictatorship in Nongoma”’.
“We congratulate the new Mayor Cllr Mshangane Clifford Ndabandaba of the NFP, EFF's Deputy Mayor Cllr Sabelo Nkosi, new Speaker Cllr Babongile Sithole, representing the ANC and former ANC Youth League leader.
“The ANC, NFP and EFF councillors have collectively sent a strong message that they want to operate as a cohesive unit around one programme of action.
“This programme is focusing on ensuring job creation, access to economic opportunities – building socio-economic infrastructure that benefits all and ensuring prosperity.
“As the ANC in the province we support such a bold programme.
“Moving forward, all spheres of government will deploy resources to ensure good governance and stability in the municipality,” the ANC said in a statement.
The national leadership of the IFP has not commented specifically on the latest developments in Nongoma.
However, in a separate statement issued by the party’s provincial chairperson, Thami Ntuli, he chastised the MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), Bongi Sithole Moloi, for sending teams to convene special council sittings in Nongoma and Maphumulo.
Ntuli said Sithole-Moloi was abusing her authority.
“The IFP in KZN is calling on the newly elected KZN Cogta MEC, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, to desist from abusing her position to influence critical decisions in favour of the ANC, at the cost of service delivery in local government.
“The decision by the MEC to prematurely get involved in the governance of the IFP-run Maphumulo and Nongoma Municipalities constitutes total overreach,” Ntuli said.