Ladysmith mayor defends decision to return to work against ANC orders
Durban - The controversial mayor of Alfred Duma (Ladysmith) local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal has defended his decision to go behind his party's back, the ANC, and the community in order to resume mayoral duties of the troubled council.
Vincent Madlala says his decision to go back to work, amid concerns the community will once again engage in violent protests, was because he was not suspended in the first place.
He told Independent Media on Monday the reason why he returned to work was because his doctors had granted him sick leave until April 30 and had he not returned to work after that, he would have been accused of absconding and taken to task.
This was in response to accusations that Madlala, who took sick leave in early March because of a violent community protest against him, had defied his party and quietly returned to work late last week.
The violent protests saw the municipality's transport system being suspended, shops, hotels, factories and schools temporarily closed. It did not end there as a community hall was torched, together with state-owned cars in a depot.
Traffic passing by the town of Ladysmith to nearby towns like Newcastle and Dundee was disrupted until the government intervened.
"The issue of my sick leave is known to everybody, it was even sent to the municipality. So, doctors gave me until April 30 to be off duty.
"From there I had to go back to work. That is what I did as I was not suspended but I was on sick leave," Madlala said.
Asked about allegations he did not inform his party that he was resuming his duties, Madlala said he would respond to the party when it formally approached him to explain himself.
“I will engage with the ANC when it approaches me about the matter, I don’t speak on its behalf. Just give it a chance to speak to me and I will explain myself,” he said.
Spokesperson of the ANC in KZN, Ricardo Mthembu, said they were working on resolving the matter and pleaded with the community to remain calm.IOL