Durban – The IFP-run Zululand district municipality in northern KwaZulu-Natal has defied an instruction to remove a councillor which the provincial department of cooperative governance and tradition affairs (Cogta), saying he is in office illegally.
The municipality was supposed to remove Bethwell Nxumalo, a councillor of the NFP by February 17, 2023.
The instruction was issued in a letter written by Thando Tubane, cogta’s head of department on February 16, 2023.
Tubane told the municipality that it was illegal for Nxumalo to still be a councillor when a March, 2022 court “dethroned him” and another councillor, and named two replacements.
NEWS: The EFF in Zululand has written to the municipal manager of the Zululand distr municipality asking him to remove the only councillor of the NFP, Bethuel Nxumalo. The EFF claims that Nxumalo is not gazetted by the IEC & as such, his presence in the council is illegal. @IOL— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) February 15, 2023
Tubane told the municipality to urgently implement Nxumalo’s removal or else his department would be forced to go to court and apply for a compelling court order.
“The MEC (Bongi Sithole-Moloi) is intending to bring an urgent application to correct this illegality, unless the municipality provides the MEC with a written undertaking that Mr Nxumalo will be immediately removed from the municipal council, and shall not attend any future meeting of the municipal council for as long as this court order and IEC directive remain in place,” Tubane said in the letter to the municipality.
Last week the EFF in Zululand wrote to the municipal manager of the district municipality asking him to remove Nxumalo.
The EFF claimed that Nxumalo was not gazetted by the IEC and as such, his presence in the council was illegal.
Unmoved by the cogta directive and threats of legal action, the district municipality’s mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi said they would protect Nxumalo’s rights.
“The municipality will utilise all means necessary to ensure that councillor Bethuel Nxumalo's rights as a councillor of the Zululand district municipality are protected,” Buthelezi told IOL when asked why they that not implemented the order from cogta.
UPDATE: The IFP-run Zululand district municipality says it "will utilize all means necessary to ensure that Councillor Bethuel Nxumalo's rights as a councillor of ZDM are protected." This comes after it defied an— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) February 20, 2023
Nxumalo recently voted with the IFP even though his party is in an alliance with the ANC.
This was when a new deputy mayor was elected to fill the vacancy left by the EFF, when it pulled out of the coalition with the IFP.
He allegedly said the NFP cannot discipline him since the court had ruled that they have no official structure, and they have no powers to recall councillors and MPs.