drama as anc stages walkout

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

There was drama in the IFP-led Umsinga local municipality at Umsinga in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands yesterday when angry ANC councillors staged a walkout during a full council meeting.

The ANC councillors were enraged that IFP councillors attended the council meeting wearing their party T-shirts.

Disgruntled ANC councillor Mhlasilwa Zulu said they had attended the council meeting to discuss the latest audit report, but decided to walk out because they could not attend an IFP rally.

"That was not a council meeting," Zulu said. "It was an IFP rally and we couldn't attend that. We want the whole country to know how the IFP operates here."

He said a councillor from the newly formed Federal Congress also walked out in protest at the action.

"What is even more surprising is that last week the council had invited health MEC Peggy Nkonyeni to discuss health issues," Zulu said.

"When the ANC's Bhambatha region secretary Bongani Xulu arrived wearing an ANC T-shirt, the IFP were quick to jump up and shout at him. He apologised and duly left the meeting out of respect for the council.

"But when we asked them to take off their IFP T-shirts, they refused and started singing IFP songs.

"We left them to continue with their party rally, which we could not attend. Even deputy mayor Mjabuliseni Mkhize wore the T-shirt."

IFP mayor Joshua Skhakhane confirmed the walkout but refuted the ANC version. He said the ANC councillors left before the meeting started.

"After they left the meeting continued because a quorum was formed.

The speaker tried to talk some sense to them, but they would not listen and we had to continue with our meeting," said Skhakhane.

He denied that all IFP councillors wore T-shirts, saying only a few did.

Local government spokesman Mthatheni Mabaso said though they had not yet received a report on the matter, it would be unfortunate it it happened.

"The council is a government structure and we do not expect councillors to come to a council meeting wearing party T-shirts," said Mabaso.