KwaZulu-Natal Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) MEC Sipho Hlomuka has welcomed an interdict issued by the Pietermaritzburg High Court, reinstating the originally elected leadership including the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and the Speaker of the Mtubatuba Local Municipality.
The municipality which remains under administration currently had two Mayors, two Deputy Mayors and two Speakers.
COGTA Spokesperson Senzelwe Mzila says the department will be in court to argue that the municipal leadership elected after the 2021 Local Government Elections remains the legitimate leadership of the Mtubatuba Municipality.
“The MEC has welcomed the interdict which was granted by the Pietermaritzburg High Court. This interdict was brought by the MEC against the recently elected mayor, deputy mayor and speaker and the appointment of the acting municipal manager in the Mtubatuba Local Municipality. This recent sitting is viewed by the government as an unlawful gathering. The interdict means that the leadership that was elected following the 1st of November elections is the genuine leadership of the municipality until this matter is argued in court on the 26th of January,” says Mzila.
Battle for Mtubatuba
Mtubatuba is one of the hung municipalities where there was no outright winner after November’s Local Government Elections.
The IFP working with the EFF has a majority of 23 seats.
The African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) have been in a battle for control of the municipality.
Earlier, the Pietermaritzburg High Court granted the IFP an order instructing the speaker of the ANC-controlled council to convene a special council meeting to remove the three leaders through a motion of no confidence.
An earlier application by the IFP sought to nullify the inaugural council meeting held in November.
The IFP has since accused Mtubatuba Speaker Dipuo Ntuli of dragging her feet in convening a special council meeting, as per the court order.
The ANC had opposed the court order, arguing that the IFP ought to have waited for the outcome of their initial court application where they wanted the inaugural council meeting nullified.
More than 15 employees from the municipality were suspended in September 2020 following allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds.
The municipality has lost millions of rands due to corruption.
More details in the video below:
-Additional reporting by Thulani Msimang