uMzinyathi mayor denies failing to provide water as war of words rages with Umvoti counterpart

Philani Mavundla says Petros Ngubane is failing in his duties. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Philani Mavundla says Petros Ngubane is failing in his duties. Picture: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Jul 25, 2023


The Mayor of the uMzinyathi District Municipality, anchored in Dundee in northern KwaZulu-Natal, has shot down claims that he is ignoring a water crisis under his nose.

Petros Ngubane says the claims by Philani Mavundla, the new mayor of Umvoti (Greytown) Local Municipality that there is a water crisis are misplaced.

His response to Mavundla comes after he was accused of neglecting his duties to provide water and sanitation services in the four local municipalities of Umvoti, Endumeni, Nquthu, and Umsinga.

Instead, Mavundla claims Ngubane spends his entire time singing praises to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, the founder of the Inkatha Freedom Party, the party in charge of uMzinyathi.

He also claimed that Ngubane is spending his time attacking people like Bheki Mtolo, the provincial secretary of the ANC in the province, for criticising Buthelezi.

“While this gesture from Ngubane can be seen as noble by diehard supporters of his party, we cannot help but wonder where this zeal and passion are when it comes to dealing with the ongoing water and sewage crisis under the uMzinyathi district. In yet another display of questionable leadership, Mayor Ngubane has demonstrated that when it comes to tackling a life-threatening water crisis, ignorance truly is bliss. Despite the undeniable evidence of a looming humanitarian catastrophe, the mayor has chosen to adopt a unique approach: doing absolutely nothing,” Mavundla lashed out at Ngubane, his perennial political nemesis.

Mavundla said while other district mayors are working tirelessly to address water shortages and ensure the well-being of their constituents, Ngubane has decided that picking fights with leadership from other parties is the best way to pass the time.

“In a community imbizo held in Gugulethu, under the Umvoti municipality, yesterday, Mayor Ngubane was called out by frustrated residents over the water and sewage crisis in the area. Instead of implementing solutions, Ngubane opted to play the victim card, once again leaving these residents with empty taps and streets flooded with raw sewage, ” Mavundla added.

Ngubane denied Mavundla's claims and said he has a duty to defend Buthelezi as he sits in leadership positions within the IFP and the Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi Foundation.

He said the conversation between him and Mtolo was private until someone leaked it to the media.

“There is no crisis at the uMzinyathi District Municipality regarding water... I am not singing praises to HRH (Buthelezi), but I am doing part of my political responsibility. I have never written an open letter to Mr Mtolo, but this was a private conversation between myself and him at no stage did I send it to the media, however, there was no reason to be afraid of that,” Ngubane said in response to Mavundla.

Mavundla and Ngubane share a strained relationship dating back to 2011. Their feud was reignited when Mavundla wrote to Bongi Sithole-Moloi, the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs, asking to allow Umvoti to take over its water and sanitation affairs.

He claimed that uMzinyathi was failing to do his work. This prompted a rebuke from Ngubane, who said that Mavundla was not well versed in how the country's system is layered and responsibilities are allocated.

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