First ever debate on mayor’s state of the City speech in eThekwini descends into chaos

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The first ever debate on the mayor’s state of the City speech in the eThekwini metro has descended into chaos. Democratic Alliance (DA) councillors walked out of the meeting as Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda was about to deliver his reply.

This came after DA councillor André Beetge was initially called a beneficiary of apartheid from the African National Congress (ANC) benches. It was later followed by interjections calling the DA the killers of Phoenix.

Two Phoenix brothers charged with the murder of a Bhambayi resident during the 2021 civil unrest, were last week convicted of attempted murder. At least 35 people were killed in the Phoenix area in allegedly racially motivated attacks during the looting and violence. Kaunda responded to the DA walk-out in his speech.

“Those who are beneficiaries of apartheid like Councillor Beetge, they come here and praise apartheid. We did not forget what they did to us, we only forgave them. They must know that. But don’t remind us about the pain that was really inflicted on us by apartheid. And if you continue doing that, we will always treat you like. That’s why you are leaving, because you are full of apartheid tendencies,” says Kaunda.

Friction between the DA and the ANC in the special eThekwini council sitting started when Beetge referred to Chatsworth in the south of Durban as an area that is representative of the metro as a whole. The DA won a by-election in the area on Wednesday.

The ward became vacant when DA councillor Ronnie Pillay left the DA for the ANC. Beetge says the state of the area has deteriorated in recent years.

“So back to Chatsworth. We are going to drive along Higginson Highway. This time safe for the area lit by the lights of our Golf, we are unable to see our hand in front of our face as not a single a street light for kilometres. And it’s been left like that for seven years. Did the mayor just forget to mention street lights? Or was written on a day that it didn’t matter? Or maybe it wasn’t noted through the tinted windows,” says Beetge.