Video by Sihle Mavuso
Political tempers are once again flaring in Melmoth in northern KwaZulu-Natal ahead of next week's by-elections that will either cement the IFP rule or weaken it and open a loophole for the ANC to take over the Mthonjaneni Local Municipality.
On Tuesday the ward 6 of the municipality became a hive of activity when the IFP-run King Cetshwayo District Municipality descended on the area to "empower local cooperatives".
The ward will host crucial by-elections next week following the sudden resignation of the ANC's councillor three months ago.
Led by its district mayor, Thami Ntuli who is also the provincial chairperson of IFP, the municipality gave out material for what it termed was for local economic development (LED).
Justifying it, Ntuli said he was doing what he started doing in December 2021 and was unaware of by-elections.
"We don't only deliver services because there is about to be elections in the area. We are always on the ground working for the people.
"I am asking you to look out for opportunists who will only come here to fool you because they need your votes," Ntuli said in Zulu.
Ntuli then indirectly took a swipe at the MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Super Zuma.
Zuma and his department were in the area for a service delivery programme and it pitched a big marquee a stone throw away from Ntuli's event.
"Don't be fooled by these MECs, you will only see them today, after the elections they will disappear, it will only be you and your councillor.
"I am told that they (the ANC) have pulled out former President (Jacob) Zuma after persecuting and charging him to come and campaign for them here," Ntuli alleged.
However, Vusi Zuma, the spokesperson of MEC Zuma denied Ntuli's allegations saying they were doing a normal programme.
"Kindly note that MEC Super Zuma was in Melmoth today as part of a routine service delivery programme to assess the progress of the One Home One Garden Programme.
"(That was) by visiting 5 homes that are beneficiaries of this Programme," the spokesperson said.
During the events, the district municipality and Zuma's department had to compete for prominence by placing competing billboards right from the R66 highway to eNtembeni, where their events were held.