The fired IFP (Inkatha Freedom Party) Mayor of Umzinyathi district municipality, Petros Ngubane, and eight other councillors have filed papers with the Pietermaritzburg High Court to challenge their sacking.
Ngubane and others, including former Umvoti local municipality mayor, Gabriel Malembe and Speaker Thando Dlamini, also from the IFP, were sacked as public representatives in the Umvoti local municipality in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
As a result of that sacking at the local level, Ngubane stands to lose his mayoral chains at the district level as he is a seconded councillor from the local municipality.
Their sacking came after a special ethics committee found them guilty of walking out of council sittings and absenteeism on three occasions.
One of the cited cases of walking out is the June 29, 2023 special council sitting convened by a representative of Cogta MEC where the ABC (Abantu Batho Congress) and the ANC ousted the IFP from power through a vote of no confidence.
The committee recommended that they should be fired because they breached their oath of office and service to the people who elected them.
Upon receiving and studying the recommendations of the committee, the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in the province, Bongi Sithole Moloi, ratified the decision.
She said they should be expelled and she notified the IEC (Electoral Commission of South Africa) of the decision, thus declaring vacancies.
Ngubane and the others have since filed a two-pronged legal battle. The first application to be heard by the court on Monday (October 2) is an interim interdict preventing the MEC from taking any action against them until the matter is finalised in court.
An interdict is also being sought to stop the IEC from removing them from office and holding any by-elections.
Furthermore, they want the Umvoti municipality Speaker, municipal manager Noxolo Ndaba and Sithole-Moloi to be interdicted from stopping them from attending council meetings until the matter is ruled upon by the court.
They argue that should they be removed, they will suffer irreparable harm since they stand a good chance of setting aside the decision by Sithole-Moloi.
In the court papers, Ngubane denied that he boycotted the meeting where the IFP was ousted from power.
He told the court that he logged in and took part in it via virtual platforms. However, when he raised concerns about the legality of the sitting to Thando Tubane, the Cogta HoD (Head of Department) who was assigned to convene the sitting, he was permanently muted.
The MEC and the others who are cited are yet to file their papers.