Ladysmith – The battle for the control of the Alfred Duma (Ladysmith) Local Municipality and the uThukela District Municipality between the IFP and ANC is getting ugly.
On Wednesday, members of the IFP staged a march in Ladysmith where it alleged that the ANC and the provincial government it runs were using underhand tactics to win back the two municipalities the governing party lost in November 2021.
The peaceful march, which was attended by about 3 000 members of the party, started at the Kandahar sports ground and continued along Albert and Murchison streets until it reached the head offices of the Alfred Duma Local Municipality.
WATCH: The Municipal Manager of UThukela district municipality, Bongani Mnguni addressing the IFP marchers after receiving their memorandum. Among the demands is removal of administrator Nathi Madondo, whom they accuse of self-serving. Madondo referred queries to COGTA. @IOL pic.twitter.com/n4uAWook1b— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 19, 2023
The demonstrators their first two-page memorandum to the leadership of the municipality led by mayor Zama Sibisi and said they need answers within 14 days.
One of their demands was that the municipal manager investigate all officials who are on the municipality’s payroll while allegedly working for the ANC.
WATCH: The IFP marchers are also demanding that the UThukela district municipality must investigate allegations that there are ghost employees who were hired a few years ago. @IOL pic.twitter.com/DVP76umTTl— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 19, 2023
If found, the municipality must immediately get rid of them.
Taking an aim at the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), which is led by MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi, the IFP marchers told her to back off from the municipality the party won in 2021.
They alleged that the department was no longer serving the public but serving the agenda of the ANC.
Video: Sihle Mavuso/IOL
They said the department was recently left with an egg on its face when it abused due process and tried to convene a special council sitting which was to be used by the ANC coalition to oust the IFP leadership.
The decision by the department was halted when the municipality took the matter to the Pietermaritzburg High Court and set it aside as invalid and unconstitutional.
The department said it was going to appeal against the ruling as it claimed that it was not given enough time to prepare defence arguments.
From there, under the watchful eyes of the SAPS’s public order policing unit which wanted to ensure there was order and no looting of stores along the way, the marchers then proceeded to the headquarters of the uThukela District Municipality, which is also in central Ladysmith.
Here the stakes were even higher because although the IFP won the municipality in November 2021, its room to manoeuvre is limited as there is a KZN Cogta-appointed administrator, Nkosinathi Madondo.
The administrator was appointed while the district municipality was still run by the ANC and one of the reasons it was placed under administration was financial mismanagement.
UPDATE: The ANC has just invited the media to cover their counter protest planned for tomorrow in Ladysmith. Marching today is the IFP, their political rival. pic.twitter.com/hg3D8qf6vU— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 19, 2023
Worth noting when they arrived here was that their memorandum no longer had the demand to remove the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) members from the district municipality’s labour forum because they are allegedly pursuing an agenda.
Samwu had frowned upon the demand, saying it was an attack on municipal workers, collective bargaining, intergovernmental relations and service delivery.
The administration continues under the IFP leadership and now the party’s members are claiming that Madondo is limiting their power to effectively deliver services.
UPDATE: The first part of the memorandum by IFP marchers has been handed over to the Alfred Duma (Ladysmith) municipality where Mayor Zama Sibisi assured the marchers they will respond to them within the requested 14 days. March is off to UThukela district municipality. @IOL pic.twitter.com/aD55BWjBrn— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 19, 2023
According to the memorandum delivered by the marchers, Madondo is pitting the IFP administration against the people by dealing with payments for water projects which are badly needed.
They also accused him of frustrating service providers by not approving their payments on time, thus collapsing service delivery.
Madondo got the rough end of the stick, with derogatory songs and expletives and damaging allegations aimed at him during the march.
WATCH: The IFP marchers are now moving along Albert Street in central Ladysmith. Among the songs they are singing is "owani lombango, elethu izwe." and "Sokulandela Shenge." The ANC will stage its counter march tomorrow. @IOL pic.twitter.com/6ZYYTXl9N1— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 19, 2023
The marchers demanded that KZN Cogta must remove Madondo with immediate effect as he was a stumbling block to effective governance of the municipality.
Madondo referred all queries about the demand for his removal to Cogta, which had deployed him. The department promised to respond to IOL’s request for comment on the allegations against it and Madondo.
PHOTOS: The IFP's march in Ladysmith in pictures. For now, the UThukela district municipality administrator (appointed by KZN COGTA) Nathi Madondo is getting the rough end of the stick as most degrading songs are aimed at him. @IOL pic.twitter.com/vihJn3zIEz— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) April 19, 2023
The marchers also demanded that the municipality must investigate allegations that there are several ghost workers under its payroll.
Meanwhile, the ANC in the Josiah Gumede (uThukela) region said it would stage its own march on Thursday.
Bonga Hlomuka shared a poster which said that among the issues the march aimed to highlight was the shortage of water in the district, maladministration, corruption and unfair labour practices.
The ANC’s march will use the same route as the IFP’s one, also stopping at the local and district municipalities to deliver memorandums.