KZN Cogta HoD designated to convene special council sitting of IFP-led Umvoti municipality

Cooperative Governance MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi has sent the head of department Thando Tubane to Umvoti. Picture: KZN Treasury

Cooperative Governance MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi has sent the head of department Thando Tubane to Umvoti. Picture: KZN Treasury

Published Jun 20, 2023

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Greytown - The MEC for the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) in KwaZulu-Natal, Bongi Sithole-Moloi has designated the Head of Department, Thando Tubane to go to the IFP-led Umvoti (Greytown) Local Municipality to convene a special council sitting.

This is after allegations that the Speaker, Thando Dlamini, and the Municipal Manager refused to convene it even after the majority of ANC and ABC councillors requested it.

In the sitting, the councillors of the two municipalities intend to oust the IFP since when combined, they are a majority.

In the council, the ANC have nine seats while the IFP holds 10 seats.

The ABC holds seven and the DA, a coalition partner of the IFP, has a single seat in the council.

In her letter to the Speaker, municipal manager and all councillors of the municipality sent on Monday, Sithole-Moloi said pleas to have the sitting has fallen on deaf ears.

“The documentation presented to me spans a long history of various attempts by the majority of councillors to have a special council meeting convened by the Speaker as contemplated in terms of section 29(1) of the Municipal Structures Act, as amended.

“The documentation reveals that the first request made by the majority of councillors was on 16 March 2023.

“Three months later, the said requested council meeting has never been convened either by the Speaker or the Municipal Manager.

“In desperation, this culminated in an urgent court application brought to compel the Speaker to convene the requested meeting.

“Similar to the request that had been made by the majority of councillors, the order issued by the High Court was not adhered to to-date.

“This, despite that the matter came before the court on 13 April 2023 and subsequently on 10 May 2023.

“Again in further desperation and noting that even the intervention of the court was not yielding any positive results, on 30 May 2023 the councillors resolved to re-start the process by requesting the Speaker to convene a special council meeting.

“Disappointingly, there has not even been a single response from the Speaker despite the fact that the legal obligation to convene such a meeting rests with a Speaker.

“Instead, all correspondence from the Municipality have been emanating from the Municipal Manager," she said.

She then said in the wake of this, she is compelled to act by designating Tubane to convene the special sitting.

“Following failure by the Speaker to convene a meeting as requested, the councillors requested the municipal manager to convene the meeting to no avail.

“Instead, the municipal manager elected to deny that there was such a request made to him even the documentary evidence reflects otherwise.

“Having regard to the above, it is clear to me that the Speaker working together with the Municipal Manager have been largely successful in frustrating the requests of the majority of councillors, as indicated by the fact that three months have now expired but there still have not been any such special meeting.

“To make matters worse, the special meeting which was convened on 15 May 2023 pursuant to the court order was cancelled by the Speaker.

“In the light of the above, I am satisfied that the Speaker and the Municipal Manager have refused to convene the requested special council meeting contrary to the provisions of section 29(1) of the Municipal Structures Act, read together with the Standing Rules of the Municipal Council.

“Accordingly, I hereby designate Mr T Tubane, the Head of the KZN Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to call and chair the special council meeting in terms of the Rules and Orders of the uMvoti Local Municipality and/or any other relevant legislative provision.

“Further communication will be sent by the designation official in due course.

“Councillors of uMvoti Local Municipality are called upon to cooperate with the person so designated,” Sithole-Moloi wrote in her letter.

The date for the special sitting is not yet known.

The municipality did not comment when asked about the letter and the allegations.

Previously, Dlamini denied allegations that she refused to convene the meeting.

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