ANC maintains grip on eThekwini as mayor Mxolisi Kaunda scrapes in

24 November 2021 - 16:35
By Zimasa Matiwane
eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. File photo.

A last-ditch ANC attempt to retain eThekwini municipality paid off on Wednesday as mayor Mxolisi Kaunda was re-elected.

A potential upset in the metro — which could have seen the DA taking the mayoral chain — was in the making after opposition parties on Monday came together at a council meeting to band together against an ANC mayor. However, the meeting was deliberately collapsed by people clad in ANC regalia. There was also a power failure which resulted in the meeting having to be called off and rescheduled.

Upon reconvening on Wednesday, the first sign of a plan for the ANC to manoeuvre to victory was visible when the party insisted on making changes to its executive committee candidates — a plan which succeed despite resistance from the DA, EFF and IFP.

The party removed Ntokozo Sibiya from its executive committee, replacing her with Philani Mavundla, a former Jacob Zuma backer and founder of the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC). The ABC holds two council seats, and seemed to indicate a shift in approach.

When it came to the votes for first and second citizens, Kaunda was re-elected as mayor with 113 votes. Mavundla, in turn, received a nomination from the ANC — including from Kaunda — for the position of deputy mayor, which he also won with 113 votes.

The victory for the ANC bucked the recent trend seen in Gauteng's metros, where the party was ousted in favour of DA candidates. 

While the ABC holds just two seats, it managed to ring votes from the minority parties which had been neglected, first, in an ultimately failed ANC-IFP deal and the subsequent deal which included the DA, IFP and EFF.

IFP provincial chairperson Thami Ntuli said the people of eThekwini had missed out on a different government due to Mavundla's wheeling and dealing.

“Even today we were sitting in a meeting as a bloc of the opposition knowing that he had already sold out,” he said.

Tembo Ntuli of the ANC won the council whip position.

In his closing speech, Kaunda said the time for electioneering had passed and that all parties should work together.

He said the city must be “honest, accountable and responsive”, and that priority would be shown to “water and sanitation, waste management, crime and corruption, unemployment, electricity”.

He said the city will be seized with programmes to deal with these social ills, infrastructure failings and investment for job creation.