There is no end in sight to the fight between the KwaZulu-Natal Premier and the mayor of the DA-run uMngeni (Howick) Local Municipality over the use of Mpophomeni Stadium.
Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube intends to use the stadium for an imbizo, which her office claims is meant to speed up service delivery in the municipality the DA won from the ANC in November 2021 after a fierce contest.
On the other hand, the municipality’s mayor, Chris Pappas said they had booked the stadium for a sports day scheduled for July 15.
NEWS: The fight over the use of Mphophomeni stadium on Saturday between KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube and the DA-run Umngeni local municipality is heating up. The Premier has said her event (Imbizo) will go ahead at the same venue while the municipality said it booked the— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) July 13, 2023
Pappas has since publicly disclosed communication between the municipality and the Office of the Premier regarding the matter.
In one letter dated July 11, 2023, from Pappas to Dube-Ncube, he pointed out that the Office of the Premier tried to book the stadium when it was already booked and ignored such advice.
“Once again, we must reiterate that according to the records of the uMngeni Local Municipality, there is no booking by the Premier's Office at the Mpophomeni Stadium.
“The Premier continues to advertise an event at a venue that already has a booking. This is irresponsible and may expose people to unnecessary harm,” Pappas warned Dube-Ncube in the letter.
Pappas offered the Premier an alternative venue in the same area to be used for the imbizo, but it appears that offer was not taken up by Dube-Ncube.
NEWS: The DA-led Umngeni (Howick) local municipality in KZN Midlands is threatening to legally challenge a politically motivated "intervention" into its affairs by Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube. According to the municipality’s Mayor, Chris Pappas, the Premier wants to host an imbizo pic.twitter.com/Mgu6IrGS0T— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) July 11, 2023
“I have offered reasonable alternatives to the Premier in the same area that would achieve the same results as desired by the Premier.
“The Premier mentions that there has been a big expense to her Office. It is regrettable that the Premier has incurred such an expense.
“Proper planning and following proper processes would have avoid(ed) this.
“However, the uMngeni Municipality has offered the Hon. Premier reasonable alternatives,” he wrote further.
In the same email, Pappas alerted Dube-Ncube that claims that her office booked the venue are false.
He said a certain councillor Dlamini from the ANC in his municipality had made a subsequent booking, but that bookings cannot be made on behalf of her office, since she can’t be held liable for anything by the municipality.
The Premier was having none of it, as on Wednesday she issued a statement saying the imbizo would move ahead as planned at the contested venue.
She charged that Pappas has turned a government event into a political football when public engagements and town hall meetings are held regularly by leaders of all political parties that are not ANC in municipalities governed by the ANC without interference.
“Councillor Pappas must also be reminded that the ANC is the democratically elected governing party in South Africa, and we will not allow him or anyone to subvert democratic outcomes and to balkanise our country back into apartheid-era fiefdoms and bantustans while we are in charge,” she said.
Furthermore, Dube-Ncube said South Africa is not a federal state, and uMngeni will not be turned into another Orania.
“Our Constitution is clear, South Africa is not a federal, but a unitary state will (sic) wall-to-wall municipalities.
“We will not allow Councillor Pappas to declare uMngeni Municipality an independent state, an Orania that is divorced from the rest of KwaZulu-Natal or South Africa,” she said.