News ยป Durban

Thabiso Goba
3 minute read
30 Mar 2022
06:03

eThekwini Exco meeting breaks down

Thabiso Goba

The eThekwini executive committee (Exco) meeting collapsed after an absent ANC councillor was allegedly called while she was in hospital to make up a deciding vote.

The eThekwini executive committee (Exco) meeting collapsed after an absent ANC councillor was allegedly called while she was in hospital to make up a deciding vote.

This move prompted opposition parties to log out of the meeting and kill the quorum.

The incident happened during the ninth item of the Exco agenda, which proposed the increase of valuation roll tariffs.

Among other increases, the item also proposed increasing the application fee for the valuation roll from R250 to R500.

The DA (three), IFP (one) and EFF (one) voted against the motion, while the ANC (three) and ABC (one) voted in favour of the move.

The result was 5-4 in favour of the opposition parties with one ANC Exco member, Zamantuli Sokhabase, absent from the meeting.

Mxolisi Kaunda, eThekwini Municipality mayor and exco chairperson, then attempted to use his veto power but was stopped by opposition councillors.

ALSO READ | Kaunda denies allegations of interference in eThekwini municipal manager’s appointment

Nicole Graham, DA eThekwini caucus leader, said Kaunda as chairperson can only vote twice if there was a tie and there needed to be a tie-breaking vote.

Shortly after that, opposition parties told The Witness that Kaunda pretended to have Internet connection problems.

When Kaunda’s faulty connection issue was resolved, councillor Sokhabase also joined the virtual Exco meeting to vote.

After raising objections to this, opposition councillors then logged out of the meeting in protest.

Opposition councillors who spoke to The Witness said Sokhabase was not present for the duration of the meeting up till that point.

Graham said she had written to Kaunda to get a technical report and recording of the meeting.

“The DA is considering all options available to us. Kaunda is a councillor, elected to lead a democratic committee. He is not the king of eThekwini and he will not bully us or disregard the views of the people that we represent,” she said.

Mduduzi Nkosi, IFP Exco member, said it was untenable for him to continue the meeting after the ANC’s conduct.

He said it was a shame that important council work was delayed because of the “ANC’s antics”.

Nkosi said: 

“I don’t think he [Kaunda] respects the way we work. If she [Sokhabase] had reconnected to the meeting then he should have informed us. I have repeatedly told the mayor to treat us as his Exco colleagues and not like children.”

Thabane Miya, EFF Exco member, said: “The mayor took us for a ride. What he did was untoward and disrespectful to us as his Exco colleagues.”

Sokhabase could not be reached for comment.

In a statement released by eThekwini, the City’s leadership said Sokhabase was present throughout the meeting.

“The leadership appeals to the DA and other opposition political parties represented at Exco to refrain from clutching at straws to score cheap political points. This is a desperate attempt by the DA and its allies to remain relevant in the City’s political discourse,” it read.

The rest of the items will be voted on during a special Exco meeting tomorrow where a draft 2022/23 budget is expected to be presented for discussion.