South Africa

eThekwini council unable to elect new mayor to replace Mxolisi Kaunda

The former eThekwini mayor has shared his parting words after he was sworn in as an NCOP member last week.

The eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality will have to elect a new executive mayor at a later stage to replace Mxolisi Kaunda.

The municipality convened its first council sitting on Tuesday following last month’s general election.

The city is currently without a mayor for a few weeks after the African National Congress (ANC) decided to recall Kaunda.

The former eThekwini mayor was redeployed to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) amid a restructuring process in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) following a coalition agreement involving the ANC, Democratic Alliance (DA), Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), and National Freedom Party (NFP).

NFP councillor, Zandile Myeni is currently the acting mayor of eThekwini.

No new mayor for eThekwini

While the election of the mayor was expected to take place on Tuesday this week, the item has been removed from the council meeting’s agenda.

eThekwini council speaker Thabani Nyawose said that the election could not go ahead due to some outstanding issues.

“The chief magistrate has to be here for the swearing-in of the new mayor. Earlier in the week, there was a commitment that the chief magistrate would be available, but yesterday[Monday] I was told that he has apologised [as] he won’t be available,” Nyawose told journalists on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Water-starved eThekwini families are being charged for ‘free’ municipal water

Nyawose stated that he was requested to schedule a new date.

“For political parties, they also came to me individually so to request time to conclude their discussions.

“You are all aware that the government of national unity [GNU] at national level and in the province is also impacting on the composition of municipalities.

“Those who are negotiating among political parties, they have not yet agreed on when they are going to start engagements to discuss working relationships with different political parties at local level,” the eThekwini speaker explained.

Watch eThekwini’s council meeting below:

Kaunda says goodbye

Meanwhile, Kaunda has penned a parting column after he was sworn in as an NCOP member last week.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank the ANC for the confidence it has shown in me and for the support it has provided during my time as the mayor of this municipality,” he said in his final column on Tuesday.

The former eThekwini mayor expressed pride in leaving the municipality stable “both politically and administratively,” despite challenges like the July 2021 unrest and recurring floods throughout his tenure.

READ MORE: eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda denies claims he is supporting new MK party

“We continue to obtain an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General with a few matters raised.

“The city remains one of the few municipalities in the country that does not owe Eskom. Our account for bulk water services from uMngeni-uThukela Water is up to date.”

Kaunda faced two motions of no confidence during his time as mayor: one in February 2023 and another earlier this year, both of which were unsuccessful.

Watch Kaunda’s last media briefing below: