KwaZulu-Natal’s Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube announced on Monday, that the Nquthu Local Municipality council will be dissolved.
Dube-Ncube made the announcement at a press conference in Durban.
The municipality had been unable to constitute its council and elect office bearers since the councillors were elected in the August 3 local government election.
The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) formed a loose alliance with the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters, holding a one seat majority over an alliance of the African National Congress (ANC) and the National Freedom Party.
The IFP-led alliance had 18 seats to the 17 of the ANC-led alliance.
Dube-Ncube said that she had issued the notice in terms of Section 139 (1)(c) of the constitution to dissolve the council already on February 9. The dissolution becomes effective 14 days later.
This means that elections for the council will have to be held by May 25.
“This was not a decision we took lightly, being fully cognisant of its far-reaching consequences,” she said.
She cited various court cases as well as failed meetings to elect office bearers, such as the mayor, the speaker and the deputy mayor.
While the announcement was welcomed by the DA and criticized by the IFP, both parties laid the blame for the council’s failure at the door of the ANC.
The IFP’s national chairperson Blessed Gwala said he was surprised by the announcement.
“As the IFP we are surprised that the MEC for Cogta and the KZN Cabinet have taken such a decision because since the first council meeting, the ANC has been the cause of disruptions of all meetings convened to inaugurate the Nquthu Council. We will go to the polls kicking and screaming and we will contest the elections since we have no other option.”
Sizwe Mchunu, the DA’s constituency head for the municipality said: “The Nquthu municipality has been dysfunctional ever since the 2016 Local Government elections, because the ANC simply undermined the sittings of council, and disrupted the business of council. All the while, Nguthu has been racking up the costs of paying councillors without a single successful sitting of council.”
He said that had the MEC taken this action, it would have saved ratepayers from paying councilors who had failed to render any service to their municipality.
No comment was forthcoming from the EFF and the NFP.
The Nquthu municipal council met on seven separate different occasions in a bid to elect office bearers, with the most recent meeting taking place last week.
The municipality was placed under the administration of Cogta late last year as the municipality did not have a permanently appointed municipal manager.