'wHites not welcome'

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Ehlanzeni district municipality in Mpumalanga has opened a can of worms by barring whites from being appointed as consultants and service providers to the municipality.

The municipality resolved that all appointments of white consultants, contractors or any other service providers be banned.

This resolution was discussed at a senior management meeting recently and has allegedly been implemented by municipal manager Hugh Mbatha.

Mbatha has allegedly sent a memorandum to all senior managers and sectional heads about the resolution.

The DA said this resolution was similar to legislation used by the apartheid government "as the motives are similar to the National Party's apartheid policies enacted in 1948".

The party said: "The council is using the same tactics as the apartheid government by re-enacting the policy of racial preference."

The provincial government yesterday distanced itself from the resolution, saying it did not know why the municipality had come to such a decision.

But Ehlanzeni said the South African economy still excluded the vast majority of historically disadvantaged people from ownership of productive assets.

"Unless steps are taken to increase the effective participation of the majority of South Africans in the economy, the stability and prosperity of the economy may be undermined to the detriment of all South Africans, irrespective of race," municipal spokesman Mabutho Sithole said.

"We were recommitting ourselves to addressing the imbalances of the past in our province in general and Ehlanzeni in particular."

Sithole denied that his municipality had a policy that excluded white people from doing business with the council.