Ulundi - The IFP-led Zululand District Municipality claims to have successfully held a council meeting on Wednesday and passed its R1.5 billion draft budget for the 2023/2024 financial year.
Mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi said the budget reserved a significant portion for water provision in the entire district which has five local municipalities - Abaqulusi (Vryheid), eDumbe, Uphongolo, Ulundi and Nongoma.
Buthelezi’s claim comes as there are contradictory versions from the IFP, the ANC and the NFP regarding what happened behind closed doors on Wednesday when the council sitting was convened.
According to Buthelezi, 18 councillors of the IFP, plus one from the NFP, Bethuel Nxumalo, attended the council, formed the quorum and passed the budget.
He claimed that the ANC, EFF and other NFP councillors who when combined, are 18, stayed away after they allegedly tried to “smuggle” Sibusiso Nkosi to take part in the council sitting.
Nkosi is fighting for one of the NFP’s seats with Nxumalo and the case to determine who is the lawful councillor is before the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
“Council’s approval of the R1.5Bn is an affirmation of the IFP’s commitment to service delivery and good governance.”
Buthelezi said that in recognition of the municipality’s outstanding record of water provision, the National Treasury had allocated an extra R300m to the municipality’s capital budget.
UPDATE: The NFP in the Zululand district municipality is disputing claims by Mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi that the municipality’s R1.5 budget was passed today. The Chief Whip of the NFP, Siphamandla Ntombela, alleges that Buthelezi took over the speaker's role— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) March 29, 2023
“Just this morning, National Treasury transferred R235m into the ZDM’s bank account as additional funding under the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant.”
“Despite attempts by the ANC/NFP/EFF tripartite alliance to disrupt today’s meeting - they simply did not have the numbers to collapse the council meeting as was their intention,” Buthelezi said in a statement sent to IOL on Wednesday.
However, the ANC in the Mzala Nxumalo region (Zululand) has lambasted councillors of the IFP for the sitting of the district municipality.
According to the ANC’s region, the IFP staged a walkout via a back door while their councillors were still waiting to be ushered in.
UPDATE: Zululand district municipality mayor, Rev Thulasizwe Buthelezi, is disputing claims by the ANC in the Mzala Nxumalo region that he led a walkout by IFP councillors, thus collapsing today's council sitting in Ulundi. Buthelezi said the 18 IFP councillors and one from the— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) March 29, 2023
“Today, Inkatha Freedom Party senior leaders instructed its councillors to collapse the council sitting of its corruption-riddled Zululand District Municipality.
“This follows our determination as the African National Congress in Mzala Nxumalo region (Zululand) to hold the Mayor Cllr Thulasizwe Buthelezi accountable and ultimately vote out IFP office bearers. Items on the agenda that should have been debated today included the draft annual budget, the report on the implementation of supply chain management policy, monthly budget statements and expenditure in staff. ANC councillors were made to wait outside the council chamber whilst Cllr Thulasizwe Buthelezi commanded IFP councillors, who were trembling with fear, to walkout through the backdoor.
NEWS: The ANC in the Mzala Nxumalo region (Zululand) has lambasted councillors of the IFP for collapsing today's sitting of the Zululand district municipality. According to the ANC's region, the IFP staged a walkout via back door while their councillors were still waiting. @IOL— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) March 29, 2023
“They staged a walkout like criminals avoiding detection. No amount of trickery will save IFP office bearers from being held accountable for their mafia-style behaviour which has collapsed service delivery in the district and in all local municipalities under the corruption-prone IFP,” the ANC in the region said in a statement.
Entering the fray, the NFP in the Zululand District Municipality disputed claims by mayor Buthelezi that the municipality’s R1.5bn budget was passed on Wednesday.
The chief whip of the NFP, Siphamandla Ntombela, alleges that Buthelezi took over the speaker’s role and locked them, the ANC and EFF, out of the meeting.
Ntombela claimed that even the Department of Cooperative Governance representative noted that and he insisted that no budget was passed.
“Of significance is that the mayor Buthelezi locked us out of the (council) chamber, they then used the back exit as the IFP.
“So, there is no budget that was passed, he is misleading the public; he locked us out as the NFP, ANC and the EFF,” Ntombela alleged when speaking to IOL.