Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA).
KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala says the recalling of the mayors of eThekwini and Msunduzi municipalities, Zandile Gumede and Themba Njilo respectively, three months ago has yielded positive results.

Addressing the media in Durban yesterday, Zikalala said both municipalities are on the path to financial recovery after years of struggling to control their budgets and alleged acts of corruption.

Gumede and Njilo were recalled after the ANC had conducted an investigation, which found that they were the cause of the lack of service delivery.

“We have noted progress with regards to efforts to stabilise and refocus our two municipalities toward issues of driving social economic growth and development,” Zikalala said.

Gumede and Njilo were replaced by former provincial MEC Mxolisi Kaunda and ANC activist Mzimkhulu Thebolla.

“We are encouraged by positive signs of stability marked by smooth transition of the executive power and the renewed focus on developmental priorities that we are witnessing.”

He further said: “Both of these municipalities have put in place turnaround plans which are already yielding positive results in terms of financial recovery and unblocking service delivery."

Zikalala said the municipalities were implementing consequent management, which had resulted in harsher action against certain officials who have allegedly committed wrongdoings.

About 20 councillors, including Gumede, municipal employees and contractors were arrested in connection with alleged fraud and corruption regarding the controversial Durban Solid Waste tender worth more than R200 million.

Zikalala also expressed concerns about renewed tensions among members of the Nazareth Baptist Church, which is popularly known as Shembe Church, after a recent Supreme Court of Appeal ruling.

The court ruled against Inkosi Mduduzi Shembe, saying that his late relative Inkosi Vela Shembe was the rightful leader of the 3.2 million member church.

He said the executive had assigned Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Ntuli, Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Peggy Nkonyeni and Agriculture and Rural Development MEC Bongi Sithole-Moloi to lead a government team that would facilitate peace negotiations between rival church groups.

Political Bureau