The once troubled Mandeni municipality on the north coast of KZN will soon get a new mayor, almost three months after its former mayor, Siphesihle Zulu, was forced out by a violently community protest.
During the violent protest, that dragged on for almost a month (March), protesting community members torched trucks and burnt down two vacant factories situated at Sithebe industrial site. They also blocked the N2 freeway and stoned passing vehicles.
The community of the textile town alleged Zulu was corrupt and allegedly funded his lavish lifestyle using municipal funds and urged the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to recall him.
Under immense pressure, ahead of the May general elections, the party then placed him on special leave and it appears that he quietly resigned as mayor but still retained his position in ward 13.
At the present moment, Phindile Sishi, is acting as mayor of Mandeni. Sishi is the regional secretary of the ANC women’s league of the General Gizenga Mpanza region.
Confirming the resignation, Matozi Khuzwayo-Dlamini, the deputy Regional Secretary of the General Gizenga Mpanza region (Ilembe district), said Zulu is still serving as an ordinary councillor.
“We are still waiting for the province to take a decision on who will replace the former mayor. They (the province) told us that they will deal with our matter together with many other issues as several mayors left to serve in the provincial legislature and elsewhere and they have to be replaced as well,” Khuzwayo-Dlamini said.
When the region deliberates on who will replace Zulu, it would also have to nominate a candidate to take over as the mayor of Mandeni’s neighbouring town, KwaDukuza (Stanger).
This is after the former mayor there, Ricardo Mthembu, recently left to take a seat at the KZN legislature in Pietermaritzburg.