Johannesburg - His resignation from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in early July was downplayed as a “publicity stunt”, but now Philani “PG” Mavundla’s abrupt return to politics has come back to haunt his former party.
On Wednesday the construction and property multi-millionaire who shot to fame through his close association with former President Jacob Zuma, caused the biggest upset in the post-1994 political history of Umvoti (Greytown) municipality when he unexpectedly snatched ward seven from the ANC.
He snatched the ward on behalf of the National Freedom Party (NFP), a struggling party he joined when he left the ruling party, thus significantly reducing the majority of his former party.
As a result of the shock victory, the ANC now holds 14 wards in the 27 member council with eleven wards held by the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and the NFP and the Democratic Alliance (DA) holding one each– 13 when combined.
There has been talk that the NFP and the rest of the opposition parties may soon form a coalition to oust Thami Ngubane, the current ANC mayor.
However, Mavundla was coy about the coalition rumours. Instead, he said they will use their single seat in the council to fight “rampant corruption that has gone for years” in the council. He said in the next six months they want all the forensic reports on corruption to be made public and all those fingered to “wear orange overalls”.
“What I can say is that we are going to demand that in the next six months there must be action taken against those who are corrupt. It's sad that the corruption there has gone unchallenged for a long time and we now want actions to be taken. As a result, we will use our single seat to fight corruption and the corrupt in the council,” Mavundla said.
Mavundla is not new to the council of Umvoti as he served as an ANC mayor between 2011 and 2013. During that period, he publicly rejected the council's salary and other perks like cars saying he could afford to fund these from his own pocket.
He and late Durban businessman Don Mkhwanazi were major funders of the now-defunct Friends of Jacob Zuma Trust, which was started in 2005 to raise funds for Zuma immediately after he was fired by Thabo Mbeki.
The trust later became a springboard for Zuma’s campaign for the ANC presidency, which he snatched from Mbeki at Polokwane in 2007.
At the height of the wrangling between Zuma and former public protector Thuli Madonsela over the security upgrades at Nkandla, Mavundla publicly challenged Madonsela to draw up a final sum so that he could pay it.