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Umvoti Municipality opposes urgent applications

By Londiwe Xulu

The municipality's PR councillor and district mayor filed two separate urgent applications at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday.

uMzinyathi District mayor Petros Ngubane. Photo: Supplied
uMzinyathi District mayor Petros Ngubane. Photo: Supplied

Umvoti Municipality has opposed urgent applications that were filed by seven councillors and the uMzinyathi District mayor.

The municipality’s PR councillor and district mayor Petros Ngubane filed two separate urgent applications at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday. Their applications were both in two parts.

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The first part is an interdict preventing the MEC for Co-operate Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi, Umvoti Municipality and the municipality manager, uMzinyathi District and municipal manager, administrator of uMzinyathi District and the Independent Electoral Commission from implementing the Cogta MEC’s decision to have them removed as councillors of Umvoti and Ngubane as the mayor of uMzinyathi.

The councillors were fired from Umvoti after a special ethics committee found them guilty of walking out of council sittings and absenteeism on three occasions. They also want the court to interdict any actions to call or hold by-elections.

They also want not to be blocked from attending council meetings and that the speaker and the municipal manager Noxolo Ndaba give them proper notice for any council meetings.

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In the court papers filed by Ngubane, he stated that he wants Sithole-Moloi and Umvoti speaker Mfundo Masondo to pay his legal fees.

Ngubane is currently serving his second term as the mayor of uMzinyathi District. In his affidavit, he said his removal and that of seven other councillors was flawed and based on incorrect facts and law. He also denied that he absented himself from three meetings.

He added, “The application itself is extremely urgent as I am informed from a reliable source who is fearful to be named that the MEC is bringing pressure to bear on the IEC to declare the seats vacant and to arrange by-elections which I … believe will be imminently done.”

Umvoti speaker, Mfundo Masondo, and municipal manager, Noxolo Ndaba, who are also respondents to these applications, have since filed court papers opposing them.

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They said the applications lacked urgency and that the MEC was not required to second-guess the municipal council but to consider its recommendations.

In court papers, Masondo said their answering affidavit was prepared under extremely limited time. He said Ngubane’s case for urgency was accordingly built around events that have passed which do not affect him or his rights as a PR councillor.

“I submit that in the circumstances no proper case for urgency had been made out on the papers before this court, and the application should thus be struck off the roll for lack of urgency with costs,” said Masondo.