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High Court judgment will reveal if the IFP or ANC will govern Mtubatuba Local Municipality

ANC’s Mbongeleni Gina was elected mayor on November 23. Photo: Supplied

ANC’s Mbongeleni Gina was elected mayor on November 23. Photo: Supplied

Published Jan 26, 2022

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DURBAN - The Pietermaritzburg High Court is on Wednesday expected to rule which is the legitimate governing party between IFP and ANC in Mtubatuba Local Municipality.

The council on the north east of KwaZulu-Natal has been without “properly” elected leadership since the local government elections in November as both parties had been in and out of court in a bid to control the municipality.

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Today the judge will rule whether the council meeting that took place on January 12 where IFP took control through the motion of no confidence was legally convened or not.

The matter was brought by Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka.

The inaugural council meeting on November 23 was marred by drama and IFP walked out in protest over its two councillors who had gone out but were prevented from rejoining the meeting.

With fewer seats the ANC took advantage of the IFP's absence and snatched the municipality but the IFP went to court arguing that the meeting did not meet the quorum.

IFP’s Mxolisi Mlotshwa was elected mayor on January 12. Photo: Supplied

In the 46-seat council a meeting needed 25 councillors to reach the quorum but on that day it was reportedly attended by 22. The IFP filed the matter on urgent basis but their requests were turned down. It then filed for motion of no confidence which the ANC speaker ignored. The IFP returned to court and this time around the judge agreed with it and ordered the speaker to call a meeting.

Again there was some delay until January 12 when the council eventually met, but it was not without drama as the ANC boycotted the meeting arguing it was illegally called since the speaker, Dipuo Ntuli, distanced herself from it.

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Ntuli denied ever sending meeting invitations to councillors, saying they did not come from her office.

The speaker said she did not even know the cell phone number used to send the invitation but the IFP local leader told the Daily News recently that today his party will reveal the owner of the cell phone number, saying the party was confident the meeting that elected IFP leadership was legal.

Last week the court temporarily removed IFP leadership from power pending today's sitting where legal teams from both Cogta and IFP would put up strong arguments trying to convince the judge to rule in their clients' favour respectively. Cogta filed papers asking the court to recognise the leadership that was elected on November 23 but there was confusion when the court refused to reinstate the ANC's Gina as mayor after removing the IFP's Mlotshwa.

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