The IFP in the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature is concerned about the millions spent by COGTA in legal fees.
The Department of COGTA in KwaZulu-Natal has spent R7.4 million in a legal battle with Amakhosi over leadership disputes during the past seven years. This was the response from the MEC for COGTA, Sipho Hlomuka, to a parliamentary question submitted by IFP MPL, Blessed Gwala.
As the IFP, we are shocked and concerned about the millions spent by the Department in the Courts fighting with Amakhosi, instead of assisting them. Further, we are concerned that the MEC for COGTA seems hell-bent on wasting tax-payers’ money in court battles with IFP-led municipalities, such as Mtubatuba Municipality, instead of assisting them. It seems that his sole motivation is to achieve the ANC’s goal of creating instability and rendering municipalities dysfunctional, which, in turn, then places them under administration. It appears that the MEC cannot accept that IFP leadership has been elected and recognised by the Courts as legitimate municipal leadership.
Unsurprisingly, it took three months for the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality to elect a Mayor, due to ANC in-fighting, which flies in the face of section 25 of the Municipal Structures Act, which states that if a Council remains unconstituted, it may ultimately be dissolved, and a new election could be held. The ANC in Ray Nkonyeni Municipality missed the 23 November 2021 deadline to hold its first local Municipal Council meeting, as the IEC stated that all Municipal Councils must be up and running by 30 November 2021. Yet the MEC did not take the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality to court or issue an instruction to dissolve the Municipality. Instead, he turned a blind eye. The IFP demands answers from the COGTA MEC about why he didn’t act against the ANC-led Ray Nkonyeni Municipality.
The MEC must stop playing politics. He must do things according to the prescripts of the law.
The legal action by the KZN MEC for COGTA – spending millions in Court – appears to indicate that he has declared war against the Amakhosi and that he is attempting to undermine them. This must be a wake-up call for Amakhosi: it appears that the COGTA MEC is biased, especially when it comes to leadership disputes.
Aside from the R7.4 million spent by COGTA, the IFP is still establishing how much has been spent by the same Department in legal fees in disputes with municipalities. Further, the IFP, during the 2022 KZN COGTA Budget, will consider whether to vote in support of, or against the budget allocation for legal fees, as this resource appears to be being abused by the MEC to advance narrow political interests.
Mr Blessed Gwala, MPL
IFP Chief Whip in the KZN Legislature
078 290 5842