Ousted eThekwini deputy mayor resigns from council

Former eThekwini deputy mayor Philani Mavundla has resigned from council.
Former eThekwini deputy mayor Philani Mavundla has resigned from council.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) president and former eThekwini deputy mayor Philani Mavundla has resigned from the city’s council.

Mavundla submitted his resignation to the office of the speaker on February 24.

He garnered two seats in the council and led the bloc of smaller parties to a coalition government with the ANC after it failed to gain the outright majority in the 2021 local government elections. 

In a statement on Tuesday, Mavundla said it was a decision the party “deeply regretted”.

“The ABC wishes to apologise profusely to the people of eThekwini for supporting an ANC-led government when the people had chosen to remove the ANC from power in the 2021 local government elections. At the time it was our genuine belief the ANC would be persuaded to join our cause in championing the interests of the condemned people of eThekwini. Sadly, this was not to be.”

The coalition kept the ruling party in power in the city and saw Mavundla appointed as  deputy mayor and chairperson of the human settlements and infrastructure committee.

After a public break down of his relationship with mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, and subsequently with the bloc, Mavundla was ousted from both positions in December, despite legal efforts to reverse the decisions in court.

He was replaced by the National Freedom Party’s Zandile Myeni as deputy mayor and leader of the bloc while the EFF’s Thabani Miya took the human settlements and infrastructure committee portfolio position.

Mavundla highlighted challenges facing the city’s infrastructure, including that 27 wastewater treatment works had been run “to complete failure”, and that R1.7bn (54%) of uMngeni water provision was written off as non-revenue water during the 2020-2021 financial year.

“Coupled with the water and sanitation crisis is wasteful expenditure in excess of hundreds of millions due to unfunded mandates such as hostels, clinics, the expanded public works programme and libraries, to name a few,” he said.

“Hostels in eThekwini cost the city in the region of R400,000. This is ratepayer's hard-earned money which ought to be repurposed for pressing infrastructure and service delivery programmes but is instead spent to provide free services to employed people who hide behind the fact that they live in hostels to get away with not paying for services.”

The party also called for the new chairperson to look to address the issue of deteriorating “legacy projects”, such as potholes on the Dumisani Makhaye highway, and ensure the implementation of the recommendations in the Mahatma Gandhi pump station investigation report.

“We hope the new chair will enjoy their support and this will translate to effective service delivery, including the eradication of potholes in the city. We hope  he is willing to address them and will not allow political interference, cadre deployment and corruption to hinder progress.”

The party cited the challenges among its reasons for choosing to be friends of the court in the case by ActionSA against the city over the ongoing sewage crisis. On Monday the case was postponed until April .

The ABC confirmed Mavundla would continue acting as a friend of the court.

The ABC president was a no-show at a special council meeting on Tuesday.

eThekwini council speaker Thabani Nyawose confirmed Mavundla’s resignation from council.

TimesLIVE


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