Durban – The mayor of the second largest municipality in KwaZulu-Natal has confirmed that he and his fellow African National Congress (ANC) executive committee (Exco) members have been "redeployed".
The move was expected following a special meeting of the party’s provincial leadership (PEC) that started on Sunday and ended late on Monday night.
Msunduzi Municipality (Pietermaritzburg area) mayor Themba Njilo confirmed the ‘redeployment’ with media outside the party’s headquarters in Durban on Tuesday.
“It was a bad meeting but it wasn’t a long meeting because the PEC officials told us that the work that they have given to us has now come to an end. As from today, they were waiting for letters from leadership to tell us where to go from here,” said Njilo.
Also axed were deputy mayor Thobani Zuma and speaker Jabu Ngcobo.
“The ANC has spoken so we have to comply with what the ANC has decided. It’s not bad, it’s not good, it is just a decision taken by leadership,” he said.
Administration staff would also be removed, he said.
Msunduzi was placed under administration by the provincial department of cooperative government and traditional affairs in April.
Reasons cited included a dysfunctional council and empty coffers. The city was unable to maintain service delivery, with rubbish collection ceasing and piling up.
Members of the bid adjudication committee have also been accused of being involved in tender fraud.
But Njilo said the administration took place when the city was actually “doing well”. He said the council had been working hard to return the city to “glory”.
“But the ANC has decided, so we have to comply with the decision of the ANC,” he said.
eThekwini’s former municipal manager, S’bu Sithole, was named administrator for the municipality. He has gone on record saying that during his efforts to turn Msunduzi around, he has received death threats.
Embattled eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede, also arrived at the ANC headquarters on Tuesday, where she was also expected to be dismissed, along with the rest of her executive committee. Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail and has been charged with tender fraud relating to a R208 million waste management contract. She has denied any wrongdoing.
The move to get rid of contentious councillors is seen as the ANC trying to clean up its image and return to members who hold the party’s ethos in high esteem.
African News Agency /ANA