ANC moves to clean house in Msunduzi
The African National Congress in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday morning announced the replacement of two beleaguered leaders in the strife-torn Msunduzi (Pietermaritzburg) municipality.
KZN ANC secretary Sihle Zikalala said that embattled Msunduzi deputy-mayor Alpha Shelembe—who resigned last week and faces arson charges relating to a failed attempt to burn down the party’s regional offices in the capital—was to be replaced by Thobane Zuma.
The speaker’s position, previously occupied by Zonke Mbatha, would now be filled by Baboo Baij.
Zikalala said the decision was taken after a provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting on the weekend. He said this followed the PEC discussion on a “detailed task-team report” on the situation in Msunduzi, which has seen “ANC activists” stage an almost six week-long protest against the appointment of Shelembe and others.
The protesters also called for the disbanding of the regional executive committee (REC) on which Shelembe sat. The protesters also alleged that ANC provincial chairperson Zweli Mkhize was protecting and deploying corrupt officials to municipal positions in the region to protect himself against allegations of corrupt practices relating to tenders allegedly awarded to companies connected with his wife, May.
Said Zikalala: “After [the PEC] thoroughly assessed the state of the REC and the programme that it has implemented in the past year until now, the PEC found no reason to disband the REC.”
Zikalala added that the ANC “was committed in making Msunduzi municipality work” and that the deployment of Baij and Mbatha to these positions was indicative of this commitment.
The municipality was placed under administration last year after going bankrupt.
Zikalala said the PEC “reiterated its full support for Mkhize” and also announced the launch of “Operation Bring Back Order” in which the PEC planned to visit “all wards in Msunduzi to clarify how the appointment of leadership of the councils was processed.
The PEC would also conduct an open recruitment drive in all branches of Msunduzi as part of addressing complaints about access to membership of the ANC.