WATCH: Picket against KZN mayor accused of running municipality ‘like his spaza’

Umvoti Mayor Philani Mavundla is facing a community revolt. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Umvoti Mayor Philani Mavundla is facing a community revolt. Picture: Nqobile Mbonambi/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Published Aug 8, 2023


Weeks into his second stint through a coalition with the African National Congress (ANC), the new mayor of Umvoti (Greytown) Local Municipality, Philani 'PG' Mavundla is facing a community revolt.

Mavundla is the former deputy mayor of eThekwini municipality who left in February this year and later resurfaced in Umvoti.

He took over the reins in Greytown towards the end of June when his party, the ABC (Abantu Batho Congress) joined forces with the ANC to oust the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP).

Previously, the IFP led the municipality with the help of the ABC, but a bitter fallout ensued and the latter walked out.

— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) August 8, 2023

On Tuesday a group of protesters in regalia of the ANC, IFP, and NFP (National Freedom Party) took to the municipal offices and picketed against Mavundla, demanding that he resign with immediate effect.

One of the picket leaders was Sibongiseni Shange. He admitted he was from the IFP but said the picket involved other parties as they are also unhappy with Mavundla.

He said they have clear demands that Mavundla should vacate his mayoral position as he runs it like his fiefdom.

“In the short period of time he has been the mayor of the municipality, he has fired about 50 employees of the municipality. He walks around offices asking them which political party they belong to and if they do not belong to his party he fires them on the spot. Not even the municipal manager or line managers are involved, it is him taking decisions to fire the employees,” Shange alleged.

Moreover, Shange alleged that Mavundla has also scrapped the indigent policy of the municipality where the poor were helped with vouchers to bury their loved ones.

Shange also alleged that Mavundla arbitrarily ground the municipal TLB used to help the poor dig graves for their loved ones.

“He does not care about the poor, he is treating the municipality like his spaza, he takes decisions alone and rams them through,” Shange claimed. Shange added that Mavundla should be reminded that the municipality is not his private factory.

“We want him gone now and get a new mayor who understands the plight of the poor of Umvoti. This is the same Mavundla who recently fired councillors,” Shange said.

In this case, Shange referred to the council resolution where nine councillors (seven from the IFP) were found guilty of absconding from council sittings.

A recommendation was made to fire them and that decision is now awaiting the approval of the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), Bongi Sithole-Moloi.

Mavundla hit back at Shange saying he is a bitter former ABC member who was expelled.

“Shange was leading the march and he is a former councillor of the ABC at Umzinyathi district municipality. The protesters had several matters which they raised,” Mavundla said when asked about the protest.

Mavundla denied firing these workers, saying most of them were former EPWP workers and the rest had contracts that had ended.

“The majority of the people are those who were in the EPWP and their term has come to an end. The others they were simple (sic) on contract and that has come to an end,” Mavundla said on the matter of arbitrarily firing municipal employees.

When asked about the presence of her party's supporters in the picket, the ANC chairperson in the Inkosi Bhambatha region (Umzinyathi), Ntombi Ngubane, who is also Mavundla's deputy in the municipality, said they acted on their own.

“The region is not involved, we are in coalition with ABC, they acted on their own and we will attend to it at the level of leadership,” Ngubane said.

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