Nomusa Dube-Ncube. Picture: SOWETAN / THULI DLAMINI
Nomusa Dube-Ncube. Picture: SOWETAN / THULI DLAMINI

Opposition parties have claimed the ANC is trying to run the IFP -led AbaQulusi municipality in KwaZulu-Natal “through the back door”, by placing it under administration. 

The parties say they intend challenging the decision in court.

AbaQulusi is governed by the IFP through a coalition with the DA and EFF. 

On Monday, MEC for co-operative governance Nomusa Dube-Ncube announced that she would appoint an administrator to run the northern KwaZulu-Natal municipality.

This administrator will be at the helm of the municipality, approving all municipal expenditure.

Dube-Ncube cited many challenges faced by the municipality , including allegations of mismanagement, nepotism and a ballooning Eskom debt which currently stands at nearly R50m.

About three months ago Dube-Ncube placed the Endumeni municipality, which is also run by an IFP/DA/EFF coalition, under administration.

The opposition parties sees a political hand behind the MEC's decisions. 

In December 2018 three ANC AbaQulusi councilors were arrested during a Hawks sting operation. They were caught allegedly trying to bribe DA councillors to help topple the IFP-led council and install an ANC one. The three are out on R7,500 bail each.

Velenkosini Hlabisa, the IFP’s acting spokesperson and mayor of the Hlabisa  municipality, said Dube-Ncube’s actions were part of the governing ANC’s ploy to rule the municipality through the “back door” after failing to win it by the ballot box.

“The ANC in the region has doing everything in the book to try and topple the administration of the IFP-led AbaQulusi municipality. 

“Some ANC councilors and officials are currently standing trial after being caught trying to bribe officials,” he said.

Hlabisa said they had asked their officials to table a full report to an IFP national council meeting on Monday, and would  then commence with legal action to reverse Dube-Ncube's decision. 

His sentiments were echoed by Zwakele Mncwango, the DA’s provincial leader, who said there are many other failing ANC-run councils in KwaZulu-Natal but Dube-Ncube has not acted on them.

“This is clearly political interference by a partisan MEC to wrest control of one of the best performing municipalities in the province. It is clear that the aim here is to get tenders and other resources from this municipality.”

However, the National Freedom Party welcomed the MEC's decision, saying weak governance capacity and poor planning and service delivery led to a number of service delivery protests since 2016.

The provincial department of co-operative governance rejected the allegations by the IFP and the DA, saying the decision was taken after a damning report was presented to the MEC.

Mthatheni Mabaso, spokesperson for the department, said the administrator would stay in the municipality until the situation there had been turned around and financial stability was in place.