WATCH: Buying me would be too expensive, says Philani Mavundla after boosting ANC chances in eThekwini mayoral race

By Sihle Mavuso Time of article published Nov 24, 2021

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Durban - The president of the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC), Philani Mavundla, has shrugged off suggestions that his sudden decision to join forces with the ANC in eThekwini in exchange for a deputy mayor position was motivated by financial gain rather than to service the people of the city.

On Wednesday there was dejection in the opposition ranks when it emerged that Mavundla was apparently sitting in meetings of opposition parties while at the same negotiating with the ANC.

Although Mavundla took part in the last meeting of all opposition parties in the eThekwini Municipality just before the council sat to elect the mayor, he later did a somersault and joined forces with the ANC, prompting the EFF to repeatedly call him “a sellout” during the voting process.

In the race for the mayoral ropes of eThekwini, the ANC has fielded Mxolisi Kaunda and he is up against the DA’s Nicole Graham, who is backed by the likes of the IFP, the EFF and other smaller parties.

Mavundla’s decision has buoyed the ANC as its chances of victory were significantly improved when it emerged that it had also roped in other smaller parties.

Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL Politics

Speaking about his decision, Mavundla said he could not be bought as some of his detractors were claiming.

“I can confirm that our block has decided to stick with the ANC for the eThekwini mayorship and the deputy mayorship position… that is where we are at the moment,” he said.

Asked about being bought although he is wealthy enough not to be enticed by blue lights, a cosy lifestyle and societal status, he said: “Maybe not filthy rich but for anyone to buy me it would be too expensive. I am not for sale, I know what I stand for.”

An insider within the ABC said the decision to side with the ANC was informed by the fact that working with the DA’s coalition partner would have been difficult.

“Working with these Afrikaners would have been hard. They have no interest (in) black people at heart. At least with the ANC we would be able to sway them and force them to prioritise the black people of this country,” the insider said.

The voting for the mayor and later the deputy mayor and the chief whip was still under way, albeit at a painstaking pace, and the results were expected later on Wednesday.

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