Alfred Duma Municipality at risk of an election re-run due to ANC-IFP court battle
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DURBAN - ALFRED Duma Municipality residents could return to the polls to elect new councillors.
Councillors failed again to hold the inaugural council meeting on Tuesday due to a court battle between the ANC and IFP.
The municipality, formerly known as Mnambithi in Ladysmith, was supposed to have elected new leadership last week but the sitting was cancelled after a fist fight broke out between National People’s Assembly councillor Nkosinathi Mthethwa and the IFP regional leader Mlamuli Hlatshwayo.
They were separated by police.
ANC regional leader Bheki Khanyile said the council meeting on Tuesday was cancelled after the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday postponed the case lodged by his party. He said they planned the meeting because they were anticipating the verdict on Monday but the matter was postponed to December 14.
Khanyile said his party had objected to the Electoral Commission of South Africa’s (IEC) decision to allow the IFP to have one person voting for all its councillors during the inaugural meeting, and was forced to take the matter to court.
He said he found it strange that the IEC had granted a clearly unlawful request from the IFP, adding IFP councillors had lied and said they had sight problems and were unable to vote for themselves during the election of the speaker.
“IFP wanted to commit fraud. We wondered how the IEC could allow such a thing and no IFP councillor had provided proof from the doctor that he or she was blind,” said Khanyile.
Further, he said all councillors had been able to sign documents accepting to be councillors but when they had to vote they complained they had a sight problem.
Before the inaugural council sat there were rumours that camps within the IFP were not seeing eye-to-eye on who was supposed to be speaker, mayor and deputy mayor, and the party apparently feared that those who were against the proposed speaker would either spoil their ballots or vote for an ANC candidate.
IFP spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said the party would not discuss the issue because it was preparing papers to fight the matter in court.
There were now fears that the further delay to the inaugural council would lead to the council being dissolved or an election re-run.
The deadline for local municipalities to elect new leadership was last week Monday, and next Wednesday for the districts.
The cancellation also disturbed the uThukela District Municipality which was scheduled to hold its meeting on Tuesday because after the sitting in Alfred Duma, parties were going to vote for district councillors.
In the 73-seat council, the IFP received 33, the ANC, 28; the EFF, five; the DA, three; while the NPA, APEMO, NFP and ABC got one each.