ANC KZN lambastes EFF for council fist-fight chaos

There's no place for fist fights and assaults of municipal workers: Bheki Mtolo

02 November 2023 - 14:03 By ZIMASA MATIWANE
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ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo.
ANC KwaZulu-Natal secretary Bheki Mtolo.

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has slammed its coalition partner in eThekwini, the EFF, for the chaos it caused at the city council meeting on Tuesday.

ANC provincial secretary Bheki Mtolo on Thursday equated the EFF’s behaviour, during which EFF councillors assaulted security guards, to “serious disregard for the law” and “disrespect of voters of eThekwini municipality”.

Security was called to escort members of the EFF out of the council chamber after they became unruly.

“Such behaviour is like spitting in the faces of those who died for freedom and democracy. The EFF has undermined the people of eThekwini through such unacceptable conduct. 

“The quality of life for the people of eThekwini will be determined by the manner in which the EFF behaves in council meetings. The latest wrestling show is an indication that EFF councillors do not have the interests of residents at heart,” said Mtolo.

The EFF earlier demanded city manager Musa Mbhele leave the meeting following allegations that the city had failed to spend R1.9bn of a conditional grant allocated to repair infrastructure. The money had apparently been returned to the National Treasury.

But Mtolo, in his rebuke, said the EFF must stop pretending to be a helpless opposition while it is not. 

“The notoriously unruly EFF is in charge of the human settlements department and the engineering, eThekwini Transport Authority, water and sanitation, electricity, cleaning and solid waste units which have the biggest budget of about R43.7bn in the city. 

“The combined asset portfolio of these units is valued at more than R140bn. If you combine the staff complement of human settlements and these units, you are talking about more than 8,500 municipal workers, all under the control of the EFF,” he said.

Mtolo criticised the EFF for “behaving like school kids when it's election season, wanting to catch news headlines through chaos and anarchy”. That was “no longer fashionable and attractive to the civilised world and reasonable average person”, he said.

He defended the ANC over the behaviour of its coalition partner.

“It can never be an ANC problem when the EFF is given a serious critical portfolio [and] decides to deploy people who can’t comprehend complexities within which a modern city such as eThekwini operates.

“The EFF has a responsibility to ensure the more than 3.2-million people of eThekwini municipality are serviced by this cluster. This cluster is not only a backbone of the city, but also a pillar for socioeconomic development.”

Speaker Thabani Nyawose has committed to investigate the conduct of the EFF councillors.


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