IFP-EFF marriage in Zululand ‘on the rocks’
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DURBAN - THE EFF in KwaZulu-Natal has given Zululand Municipality until Thursday to stop vetting workers, which the party described as “political purging”.
The EFF’s stance came after mayor Thulasizwe Buthelezi apparently verbally suspended a number of employees he allegedly told he could not work with because they campaigned against the IFP in the elections.
EFF provincial chairperson Vusi Khoza told the Daily News on Wednesday that he had received information that the mayor was victimising staff that campaigned for and voted for other parties, especially the NFP.
Khoza said his party would always side with the workers and warned the IFP that if the EFF had to choose between their coalition and the staff it would choose the workers and leave the coalition.
He added that he had instructed its single councillor, deputy mayor Thulani Ndlovu, to tell the mayor of the EFF’s position in a council meeting on Thursday. Khoza said he had also established that it was true that the mayor called workers to his office and told them he did not need them in the municipality, adding that was clear “purging” because if it was a genuine bid to verify workers’ qualifications, that would have been done by the municipal manager.
“We would not allow that non - sense. Even if it was a genuine call to check qualifications you cannot ask people to reapply or bring their CVs when you can just go and retrieve the same information from the HR office,” Khoza said.
One of the workers, who asked not to be named, said the mayor had personally called workers who are members of the NFP and told them he would not be able to work with them because they campaigned for the NFP, and said he knew they “hated” him.
“I can confirm to you that the mayor personally called me on Monday and said he would not be able to work with me because we campaigned to remove him as mayor and hated him. He never mentioned anything about vetting.” Other workers refused to discuss the issue, saying they suspected that their cellphones had been bugged and feared more victimisation.
Zululand NFP leader Siphamandla Ntombela condemned the mayor's action, saying when the NFP was in charge between 2011 and 2016 the late mayor Zanele kaMagwaza-Msibi never victimised IFP-aligned staff there.
Municipality spokesperson Zanele Mthethwa denied the allegations and said that the mayor as a political head was not in charge of the employees.
Municipal manager Mpumelelo Manqale said fears among staff that they would be fired after being asked to resubmit their CVs were unfounded.
“It was not vetting per se, but was just a head count to sift out ghost employees if they existed.”
The EFF rescued the IFP with its single vote when the council met last Friday to elect municipality leadership.