The process to remove an African National Congress (ANC) councillor in the eThekwini Metro who’s been behind bars for over a year is finally underway.
Councillor Mzimuni Ngiba is awaiting trial for the murder of Siyabonga Mkhize who was the party’s candidate for the 2021 municipal elections.
While Ngiba has been unable to carry out his duties as a Ward councillor as he’s been behind bars, he’s also continued to receive his full monthly salary of R45 000.
After pressure from the opposition parties in eThekwini Metro to have him removed, the matter has now been referred to the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA).
Opposition weighs in
Zwakele Mncwango from ActionSA questions why action was never taken on the matter. “There is a question to say why the speaker was silent for so long, why he never took the action. Even the ANC as the party he is representing, the big question is why (did) the ANC allow this to continue and why couldn’t they take action… So, we believe that both the ANC and the speaker need to really be accounting about this situation…parties need to take full responsibility for their own public representatives.”
Mzamo Billy from the Democratic Alliance says the process of removing Ngiba needs to be fast-tracked.
“We (are) hoping that the process with the MEC will be fast-tracked so that the people of Ward 101 can be afforded an opportunity to vote for a different councillor who is not a thug, who is not in prison; someone who will be with the people of 101.”
Reasons behind delays
Council Speaker, Thabani Nyawose, says certain processes needed to be followed, hence the delays.
Last week, a report was tabled to council for adoption for the matter to be referred to COGTA.
“Once I received that response from the MEC, I will then write a letter to councillor Ngiba informing him that he is now officially or formally removed from his seat as councillor of 101 and his salary will be terminated.”
Meanwhile, independent political analyst, Precious Lugayeni, says the failure of the speaker to initiate steps to remove the councillor is an embarrassment to both the ANC and the council.
“The onus now is on the speaker to follow the internal processes to make sure that the salary is stopped because the party can play a role, but the speaker has (a) responsibility to report or to take action about that person. But also, there may be other process that we don’t know that made the speaker not want to act quickly but I think this is an embarrassment for the council and the speaker in particular.”
It remains unclear when COGTA will make a final decision.
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