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IFP feels vindicated after high court sets aside council sitting that dethroned Nongoma mayor

Mayor Albert Mncwango is back after a high court ruling. Picture: Nongoma local municipality

Mayor Albert Mncwango is back after a high court ruling. Picture: Nongoma local municipality

Published Feb 26, 2023


Nongoma - The IFP says the court ruling that set aside the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs-convened special council sitting that ousted its mayor in Nongoma validates it on claims that the department's MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi has been abusing her powers to politically aid her party, the ANC in the local government sphere.

The IFP's chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, Thami Ntuli, said it is sad that days after assuming her new position, the MEC engaged in a destabilising crusade against their municipalities, while ignoring the law.

Ntuli said this on Friday after the Pietermaritzburg High Court ruled that the sitting, which was convened by Cogta officials, led by one MP Khathide as tasked by Sithole-Moloi, was invalid.

The matter was taken to the high court by the municipality, together with Mayor Albert Mncwango and the Speaker, Prince Bheki Zulu and others.

This was after the sitting was convened by the Cogta team in their absence.

The Cogta team was sent after ANC and NFP councillors alleged in a letter to the MEC that the speaker refused to convene the special sitting to debate and vote on the motion of no confidence against Mncwango and Zulu.

Zulu denied that in a previous interview with IOL, saying that he did not call it because the councillors of the two parties submitted a legally defective motion.

The impromptu sitting ended with the election of Clifford Mshangane Ndabandaba from the NFP elected as the mayor, while Sabelo Nkosi from the EFF was elected as the deputy mayor, and the ANC’s Babongile Sithole was elected as the speaker.

The court declared that anyone purportedly elected as speaker and mayor is interdicted and restrained from purporting to hold the said positions of authority pending submissions (by March 20) from all involved parties why this should not be a permanent order.

“From the outset, the reasons for not convening the special council meeting requested by opposition parties – which included the ANC and NFP – were stated by our Mayor, Councillor Albert Mncwango and Speaker Prince Bheki Zulu. The mayor indicated that the opposition’s motion was flawed and defective in terms of the Standing Rules.

“Instead of accepting this, the grouping rushed to MEC Sithole-Moloi to seek her ill-advised intervention. She then hurriedly – and prematurely – sent Mr MP Khathide to convene a special council meeting without following lawful procedures,” said Ntuli.

He said the ruling shamed Sithole-Moloi, who he said has a questionable past as the former mayor of the uMgungundlovu district municipality.

“Today the court concurred with the IFP when it ruled that the MEC overstepped, and set aside her intervention.

“This left her with an egg on her face and confirmed that no matter how powerful some leaders may think they are, the law of the land will always prevail.

“It is sad to observe that within days of her appointment as Cogta MEC, Sithole-Moloi has gone on a crusade, seemingly cherry-picking councils that she deems important, for her urgent, ill-advised and aggressive interventions.

“Over the past few days, it has become abundantly clear that the MEC has set her sights on IFP-controlled municipalities to render them dysfunctional, so that she can eventually hand them over to her ANC comrades who failed to win the hearts and minds of the voters in 2021,” Ntuli said in a statement.

Sithole-Moloi’s department did not respond when given an opportunity to respond to Ntuli’s claims by IOL.

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