Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)
Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

Marathon talks over control of key KZN municipalities

By Siboniso Mngadi Time of article published Nov 19, 2021

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WHILE the IFP has sealed the deal with the ANC on hung municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, it remains unclear which party will rule the eThekwini municipality and other strategic municipalities.

Durban City Hall. Picture: Khaya Ngwenya/African News Agency (ANA)

The ANC and IFP agreed to let the party with the majority votes govern. The IFP, which had previously stated that it would never work with the ANC, changed its mind saying it decided to prioritise stability in governance ahead of political power.

But the agreement was for rural municipalities, which relied mostly on government grants to render services.

Strategic municipalities, including eThekwini, Umsunduzi in Pietermaritzburg, uMhlathuze in Richards Bay and Newcastle, in northern KZN, were excluded from the deal. Discussions over these municipalities were still ongoing.

The ANC received majority votes in strategic municipalities, but not enough to lead on its own.

In eThekwini, the ruling party dropped to 42% from 56%, while the IFP managed to get only 7%.

Should the parties agree to work together in eThekwini, the ANC will need further support from smaller parties to get over 50% support to rule the municipality.

Explaining the agreement, IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa said the coalition places both parties in power with a sharing of positions.

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) founder Mangosothu Buthelezi, addresses the party's Gauteng Provincial Manifesto Launch at Huntersfield Stadium, Katlehong in the East Rand. Picture: Itumeleng English

“What we are doing is allowing the party with the most votes to govern while the other party is relegated to the opposition.

ANC supporters Nomahlubi Jacob and Nikitha Lunda. Picture Cindy waxa. Reporter Week end Argus.

By working together with mutual respect, we will achieve the foremost goal of delivering quality services on time. The IFP remains the official opposition in KZN and will remain the biggest threat to corruption and weak leadership.

While talks were still ongoing over the four economic hubs of KwaZulu Natal, where the dynamics are more complex, the IFP believes that the principle we have committed to can be expanded and replicated as a model in other parts of the country, allowing the biggest party to take control,” he said.

The ANC is yet to comment on the agreement.

It is understood that the negotiations were taking place at national level, where ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa met with IFP President Emeritus Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

The DA, which grew its support to 25% in eThekwini, expressed shock at the ANC-IFP agreement. DA KZN Leader Francois Rodgers said it was evident that there was a clear difference between the IFP, ANC and the DA when it comes to effective service delivery and dealing with corruption.

“The DA will now field mayoral candidates in KZN’s hung municipalities, including eThekwini and Msunduzi. This will now force the IFP and ANC coalition to show its hand in the election of these positions. Voters who voted for the IFP and ANC will see for themselves the fake campaigns run by both these parties,” he said.

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