Mxolisi Kaunda, the mayor of eThekwini metro, is letting out a huge sigh of relief after barely avoiding a vote of no confidence.
The DA fired the first salvo by requesting a secret ballot for the vote on Wednesday.
However, the majority of council members opposed the proposal. When the marathon sitting was over, it was Kaunda who had the last laugh.
“Those who are in support of the notice of motion are 98. Those who are against the notice of motion are 109, and those who abstained are two. Therefore, the majority has rejected the notice of motion,” said council speaker Thabani Nyawose.
Mdu Nkosi, the caucus leader for the IFP, submitted the motion last November using a clause in Section 53 of the Local Government, Municipal Structures Act No. 117 of 1998.
The DA, the second-largest party in the metro after the ANC, supported the IFP. The EFF, ACDP, and ActionSA are some of the other parties in the council.
Smaller parties such as the ACC, ABC, AIC, and NFP were the ones who came together in support of Kaunda.
Allegations of maladministration
The failing infrastructure, poor management, and the R1.9-billion that had to be returned to the National Treasury were all mentioned by the IFP as reasons why Kaunda ought to be fired.
The R1.9-billion was recalled by the National Treasury because the metro did not spend it in a timely manner.
Several DA supporters organised a protest outside the Durban municipal chambers, demanding that the newly established uMngeni-uThukela water board take over the municipality’s water provisioning duties.
According to ActionSA, the municipality was approaching a point of no return, and Kaunda’s escape was a sad day for democracy.
Zwakele Mncwango, ActionSA chairperson in KwaZulu-Natal, stated: “It is disheartening that some smaller political parties took the decision to abstain from voting or voted against the motion to remove Kaunda, who has, on numerous occasions, displayed that he is unfit to perform the duties of his office.”
Kaunda, on the other hand, accused council members of dozing off while they were on duty, and communities suffered.
“Our focus was not so much about the vote of no confidence, but it was about how we would restore water and basic services to the affected communities,” said Kaunda.
“Residents understand the challenges we have; their concerns are that councillors aren’t doing their jobs and are not holding meetings with their communities.”
Opposition parties blamed Kaunda for the problems facing the coastal city and said he was not the right person for the job.
However, Kaunda has withstood multiple attempts to remove him from office.