Christopher Pappas; KZN DA leader Francois Rodgers; and the uMngeni deputy mayor discussing the party's future plans. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)
Christopher Pappas; KZN DA leader Francois Rodgers; and the uMngeni deputy mayor discussing the party's future plans. Picture: Tumi Pakkies African News Agency (ANA)

DA lodge court application to force uMngeni Municipality to elect a speaker and mayor

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Nov 17, 2021

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Johannesburg - The DA in the uMngeni Local Municipality has filed urgent court papers in the Pietermaritzburg High Court to force the acting municipal manager to convene a council meeting which would allow the municipality to elect a speaker and mayor.

The urgent court papers were filed on Tuesday and the matter was set down for a hearing today.

In his affidavit, uMngeni Local Municipality’s mayoral candidate-elect Chris Pappas gave a detailed account of his party’s application, saying they wanted the court to force the acting municipal manager Sandile Buthelezi to convene such a council meeting.

The DA wants the High Court to order Buthelezi to convene such a meeting on November 22. They also want an order instructing Buthelezi to notify councillors about the planned meeting on Thursday.

The court application came after an initial meeting which was supposed to be held on November 12 collapsed after the suspended municipal manager Thembeka Cibane allegedly attended the meeting and insisted on chairing despite her suspension on August 26.

Cibane is on suspension for allegedly misusing Covid-19 funds and the matter is under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit (SIU).

“For each day that goes by that the acting municipal manager refuses to call the council meeting, uMngeni is governed contrary to the expressed democratic will of the people of uMngeni and contrary to the Constitution. The DA intends for the council to elect a speaker to the council, and thereafter for the mayor and deputy mayor to be elected."

“The appointment of these office-bearers will provide uMngeni with leadership and direction and most importantly to improve local government and service delivery to the people of uMngeni,” Pappas said.

He said the court was not asked to enter into that political matter, and would not be making a decision of a political nature in granting the DA the relief it sought in the application.

Explaining his application to interdict Cibane, Pappas said: “She is cited in these proceedings because on Friday, November 12, 2021, and despite her suspension, she attended uMngeni Municipal Council meeting and purported to act as municipal manager despite the presence of a lawfully appointed acting municipal manager, causing council members to leave the meeting and for the meeting to collapse.”

The DA secured 13 seats, ANC 10 and EFF got two seats after the municipal election on November 1.

Supporting his urgent application, Pappas said: “The election at uMngeni was a watershed moment for uMngeni which has faced years of poor administration and service delivery under the erstwhile administration.

“Not only is this the first municipality won by the DA in the KwaZulu-Natal province, but it is an area particularly hard hit by the recent July riots and civil unrest, where enormous damage was caused to business and lives.

“When the election results were announced, there was great excitement and fanfare, and it was widely reported in the media,” Pappas says.

He said Buthelezi was appointed on September 29 to act while Cibane was on suspension, saying he was the duly authorised person to convene such a council meeting.

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Political Bureau

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