Harry Gwala district mayor Mluleki Ndobe and Umzimkhulu municipal manager Zweliphansi Sikhosana leave the Umzimkhulu Magistrate’s Court. Harry Gwala is one of the four municipalities in KZN that will have to elect new mayors after their previous ones moved to the provincial legislature. File photo: Motshwari Mofokeng African News Agency (ANA)

With the new national and provincial governments settling down and getting ready to work, four municipalities in KZN have to start afresh with new mayors after their previous ones moved to the provincial legislature. 

In the case of a mayoral vacancy, the speaker of the municipality holds the fort until a new mayor is elected.

The four new mayors who will serve the two remaining years of the 2016-2021 local government terms will be taking over from:

Mluleki Ndobe

The long serving mayor of Harry Gwala district municipality left to join the provincial legislature as deputy speaker. 

It was not immediately clear who will replace him at the district owing to the political instability emanating from the disputed September 2018 regional conference where Zamo Nxumalo, the current mayor of Buhlebezwe (Ixopo) was elected regional chairperson. 

Insiders told Independent Media that it was not a foregone conclusion that Nxumalo would be given the position.

Ricardo Mthembu

The former KwaDukuza ANC and later General Gizenga Mpanza region strongman has also moved to the provincial legislature after he was in July last year elected as a provincial executive member of the ANC in KZN. 

Mthembu who missed out on a cabinet position last week, is tipped to become the next provincial spokesperson, taking over from Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu who is now the MEC for Health in the province.

Mondli Chiliza

Leaving a long running water crisis behind, Chiliza, who was the mayor of Ugu District Municipality on the KZN South Coast, is now a backbencher in the legislature. 

Under his watch, the district has stumbled from one water crisis to another since 2016. The water crisis has heavily affected the resort towns of Margate and Hibberdene to an extent that the local tourism industry has taken a hard knock.

Velenkosini Hlabisa   

The only Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) mayor to leave his position for the provincial legislature, Hlabisa, a former school principal, was the mayor of the Big Five Hlabisa local municipality in northern KZN. 

He left to take up a position as the leader of the IFP in the provincial legislature. Hlabisa is also earmarked to replace Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi as the party’s leader later this year when his party holds it elective conference.

The spokesperson of the IFP, Mkhuleko Hlengwa, said they already have a candidate to replace Hlabisa and the name of the candidate will be made public this week. He said they were still working on some few issues with the replacement.

In Newcastle, the ANC may have to find itself having to fill two positions after the departure of its speaker, Jabu Khumalo, who recently left to join the National Assembly in Cape Town. 

The municipality is set to lose its embattled Mayor, Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba, who is expected to vacate his position anytime soon to deal with his murder charges.

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