Threat to make city ‘ungovernable’
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The embattled Msunduzi deputy mayor Alpha Shelembe and his fellow ANC regional committee members have been given an ultimatum: step down by the end of this month, or face an ungovernable city.
This was the message from about 1 000 angry protesters, who brought the Pietermaritzburg CBD to a grinding halt on Friday afternoon, when they marched from Dale Park to the legislature, protesting against corruption.
At the legislature, they handed over a memorandum to provincial government leaders.
The memorandum read: “Some of the very people who caused trouble and were at the helm when the municipality collapsed have been re-invited to serve in the council. This is the worst insult ever, and at best, an act of trivialising the collapse of the municipality…
“As an alliance we take a dim view of the re-deployment of these councillors, including as a specific and most urgent case, the deployment of the former council speaker, Alpha Shelembe, as the deputy mayor.”
Chants including, “Down with thieves who steal from ratepayers” and “Down with criminals disguised as ANC members” echoed across the city.
Premier Zweli Mkhize also came in for stick from protesters, who criticised him for not acting swiftly enough to stop the corrupt ANC members from claiming leadership positions within the city council.
ANC activist Nana Mnandi, who spoke on behalf of protesters who are staging a sit-in at the ANC offices in Jabu Ndlovu Street, said they were willing to bring the city to its knees and render it ungovernable unless their concerns about corruption were addressed.
The protesters demanded that Shelembe be recalled as the deputy mayor along with other councillors – among them Zonke Mbatha, who has been elected as council speaker – who were serving on the municipality when it collapsed amid allegations of mismanagement and fraud last year.
Msunduzi spiralled into a financial meltdown and was placed under administration last year by local government MEC Nomusa Dube. The protesters want the outcomes of investigations into Msunduzi to be made public within 14 days.
It has been reported that ANC heavyweight Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and her task team are still in Pietermaritzburg trying to bring an end to the protests and disillusion-ment over the way certain factions were said to be controlling the selection of candidate councillors to the ANC election list.