The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, is concerned about the abuse of taxpayers’ money by COGTA, as they continue to accrue legal fees in unsuccessful court cases against IFP-led municipalities and councillors.
This comes after nine councillors – mainly from the IFP – of Umvoti (Greytown) Local Municipality, who were recently fired by KwaZulu-Natal COGTA MEC, Bongi Sithole-Moloi, for absenteeism and allegedly walking out of three council meetings, obtained an interim order reinstating them to their positions.
On 6 October 2023, the Pietermaritzburg High Court granted the interim order until the matter is heard and ruled upon.
As the IFP, are concerned that MEC Sithole-Moloi – a controversial and compromised former ANC mayor, who was ousted by her own party in 2008 amid claims of maladministration and corruption – is abusing her power under the guise of applying the rule of the law. It appears that she is attempting to destabilise IFP-led municipalities in favour of her own political party and its accomplice, the ABC.
There are many dysfunctional ANC municipalities, such as Msunduzi Municipality. Recently it was revealed that this Municipality is in poor financial health and has no money to pay its creditors. This is according to a report by National Treasury on the Municipal Budget and Benchmark Engagement for the 2023/23 Medium-Term Revenue Expenditure Framework (MTREF), which found that service delivery was also on the decline. eThekwini Metro is also dysfunctional and has been placed under Section 154 intervention, yet the MEC is turning a blind eye.
Further, we want to remind MEC Sithole-Moloi that we have not forgotten about when she was the uMgungundlovu District Mayor, and there were allegations that she deposited R1.5 million meant for black economic empowerment into the personal account of businessman Lucky Moloi. She and Moloi later married.
We would like to ask MEC Sithole-Moloi to tell the public what happened to these allegations, and the R1.5 million she allegedly stole when she was the Mayor. Were the allegations ever investigated, or just swept under the rug?
COGTA is known to have an insatiable appetite for abusing public funds: last year it was revealed by former MEC for COGTA, Sipho Hlomuka, that the Department spent R7.4 million in a legal battle with Amakhosi over leadership disputes during the past seven years.
As the IFP, we are shocked and concerned about the millions being spent by the Department in the Courts, where they are fighting with IFP municipalities and councillors – instead of assisting them.
It appears that MEC Sithole-Moloi believes that her Department is an extension of the ANC, rather than an impartial government institution. The MEC and her Office are supposed to be custodians of the rule of law and local government systems. They should seek to amicably resolve challenges in local government, in a fair and agreeable manner – without being manipulated by biased narratives of ANC comrades.
Mr Blessed Gwala MPL
IFP Chief Whip in the KZN Legislature
078 290 5842