Mayoral Iimbizo goes ahead as ‘per budget’

Following a week that saw one Council meeting end in chaos and the cancellation of another meeting, the Endumeni Mayoral Imbizo went ahead as planned in freezing weather in Sithembile, Glencoe, on Saturday.
Mayor Richard Mbatha and Speaker Bongiwe Mbatha Makhathini told the Courier before the Imbizo that contrary to rumours, the community get-together cost R300 000 and had been budgeted for in the 2016/17 budget.
“Councillors had nothing to do with organising the Imbizo which was approved of by the previous Council and this Council has nothing to do with it. This is the responsibility of the Mayor and officials,” Speaker Mbatha Makhathini said.
The acting chief financial manager, Nazeema Chenia, has resigned from her post – although she is still in the building.

Asked about this, Speaker Mbatha Makhathini said the Council was waiting for Thabani Biyela, municipal manager, to appoint a new acting financial manager. Mr Biyela was apparently in ICU after a fall in his Durban home but was alleged to be making a full recovery. Mayor Mbatha denied rumours that 5 000 T-shirts had been printed for the Imbizo and that seven companies had been hired to cater for those who had attended the meeting. The catering bill was said to be R115 000 and the entire budget R500 000.
“Not true,” said Mayor Mbatha. “The whole Imbizo cost R300 000.”

The Imbizo went ahead although it started some hours after the advertised time of 10am. Equipment to assist co-operatives with their endeavours such as fencing, tools and other items were presented by the Mayor.
Meeting ends in chaos
There were chaotic scenes in the Endumeni Council Chamber again when last Tuesday’s special meeting ended without a quorum.
The meeting was to have discussed, among other issues, the appointment of a Corporate Services Manager and the extension of the acting financial manager’s contract.
However, the meeting ended in a shouting match.
The ANC Councillors spoke out against the appointment of an acting corporate services manager, Sibongiseni Mosia, who was appointed, according to the ANC, without a Council resolution.
They also questioned the credibility of the minutes of the previous meeting.
Speaker Bongiwe Mbatha repeatedly told Councillors to sit down as tempers flared.
Councillor Thulani Mahaye said the ANC had garnered over 60% of the vote in Endumeni in the 2016 local elections and said the party needed to have the three motions it had tabled three weeks ago discussed.
One of these motions is a vote of no confidence against Mayor, Richard Mbatha, who they accuse of S and T fraud last July.
It is a claim Mayor Mbatha denies. He earlier told the Courier that he had never received the R7 000 he was claimed to have been paid.
The IFP then proposed a panel to appoint a corporate services manager. They wanted five people on the panel, including the Mayor and Mr Mosia, who is currently the manager in the Mayor’s office. Councillor Anthon Raubenheimer of the DA pointed out that legislation ruled that only three people may sit on the panel – the municipal manager, the chairman of the portfolio committee and an independent person.
He held a copy of the act to prove his point.
Later, Dr Sandy Bedassi of the DA complained of illness and left the meeting. The six ANC Councillors also walked out leaving the Council without a quorum. Callie Carlese of the IFP said the meeting could continue as Councillors had signed the register.
However, this was overruled as a similar decision made by the previous Council had seen decisions being deemed illegal and Councillors had to pay fines.
Later the Speaker addressed councillors who were still there, claiming that the ANC wanted to destroy the council and make it unworkable because they had lost power. She further alleged that Councillor Mdluli, in one of the meetings, mentioned this. Mbatha also said she would report the behaviour of the ANC councillors to the MEC because they were ‘disturbing’ the service delivery.
Friday’s meeting was postponed
The Tuesday meeting was to have continued on Friday but this too failed to materialise. Some councillors told the Courier that they only received an SMS from Speaker Bongiwe Mbatha Makhathini telling them that the meeting has been postponed when they were ‘on the doorstep of the municipality’.
Asked about this, the Speaker said ‘most Councillors were campaigning for the by-elections in Nquthu, hence the decision to postpone the meeting to next week.’

  AUTHOR
Siphiwe Ngwenya
Journalist

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