The National Freedom Party (NFP) on Thursday urged the government to dissolve the Jozini Local Municipality so the party could participate in fresh elections in the remote northern KwaZulu-Natal municipality.
The call by the party’s acting national chairperson Bheki Gumbi comes after a stalemate with the municipality’s council that has failed to hold its inaugural meeting to elect an executive, consisting of at least the mayor, the deputy mayor and the speaker.
Gumbi said: “It’s clear that the council is not being formed in the absence of the NFP. Therefore we are calling for a rerun because the time for forming a council is over now. We are urging the minister for (Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs) Cogta to intervene and dissolve it.”
The NFP failed to participate in the August 3 local government elections, with the exception of Nquthu, after it failed to pay the requisite fees to the Electoral Commission of South Africa.
“We want to dissolve the council for rerun so the NFP will participate,” he said.
The municipality was previously under the control of a coalition of the African National Congress (ANC) and the NFP, but had been placed under administration by the provincial department of Cogta after that coalition failed to work.
Following the local government elections, the ANC and a lone independent candidate had 20 seats, while a coalition of the IFP, the DA and the EFF also garnered a combined 20 seats.
Kevin Mileham, the DA’s cooperative governance spokesperson, said: “After the swearing in of the councillors at the inaugural council meeting, the next item on the agenda was the election of the mayor and speaker. The ANC requested a 10-minute caucus, and have not returned to the council chamber since, despite two new meetings having been called.”
He said that meant there was no quorum and therefore the council could not proceed with electing office bearers.
According to the law, if there is a tie, the selection of the office bearers is done by the toss of a coin or a draw.
Gumbi said: “Clearly, the situation in Jozini needs to be attended to immediately, as it has deprived citizens with the opportunity to get any services as the municipality has not been established due to the tensions between the ANC and IFP, as none of them want to work with each other.”
Questioned over the fact that under the ANC/NFP coalition the municipality’s council had also failed to function, Gumbi said: “Even if it was under administration, but the fact of the matter now is that there is no winner. We are saying let’s go for rerun for the election. We dissolve it so that the winner will emerge. We are hoping as the NFP we will win that municipality.”
He said that he could not comment on the previous coalition being under administration, as he did not have the full facts to hand, but said that such a situation would not prevail in the event that a rerun was ordered.
“There was disorder I agree. But now, we are saying if there was a rerun, there would be order because the NFP would send qualified people to run this municipality,” he said.
In the 2011 local government elections, the ANC secured 20 seats, and the NFP four seats compared to the 16 that the IFP had secured.
In 2016, the ANC secured 19 seats, the IFP 18 seats, with the DA, EFF and an independent candidate winning one seat each.
– African News Agency (ANA)