Mass absence collapses council sitting

A mass absence of ANC councillors, allegedly aligned to former president Jacob Zuma, led to the collapse of an important Msunduzi council sitting yesterday, leading to fears that the municipality was heading for a collapse.
Council Speaker Jabu Ngubo, Mayor Themba Njilo and Chief Whip Truman Magubane were left baffled yesterday when nearly half of their comrades failed to attend the meeting. Ngubo told Public Eye that she was disappointed with the mass absence as the meeting had been well communicated. “In our last council sitting on May 30, councillors were notified of the special meeting to be held today, and aside from that, the secretariat also informed councillors,” said Ngubo.
Deputy mayor Thobani Zuma, Eunice Zondi, Sphamandla Khumalo, Nokthula Msimang, Tholakele Dlamini and Philisiwe Sithole (all Exco members), along with other ANC councillors were absent. Veteran DA councillor Bill Lambert decried the development which he said demanded leadership. “In all my years as a councillor who has served under successive ANC mayors, I have never witnessed anything like this where a meeting cannot happen because of such an absence from ANC councillors,” said Lambert. He appealed to the mayor to work at saving the city which he insisted was on the verge of ruin.
The Speaker said the absence was a warning signal and, if not attended to, would have dire implications for council. “One of the reasons that the city went under administration in 2010 was because the outstanding council matters were not dealt with and they kept piling up. My fear is that by not attending, councillors are driving the municipality towards that direction,” said Ngubo.
Magubane said very little could be done as councillors had sent apologies and council rules allowed for punitive action to be taken once councillors had not attended three successive meetings without an apology. None would be drawn into whether the current political climate in the ANC had something to do with the absence .

  AUTHOR
Public Eye Reporter

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