Good riddance, say opposition parties after ANC recalled Kaunda

Opposition parties in KwaZulu-Natal have defined the recall of Mxolisi Kaunda, the mayor of eThekwini, as long overdue.

In an unexpected move, the ANC announced that it had decided to redeploy Kaunda to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), one of the two houses of parliament.

The NCOP is tasked with ensuring that provincial interests are taken into account in the national sphere of government.

“We strongly believe that, with his experience, comrade Mxolisi Kaunda has an important role to play in the NCOP,” said the ANC in the province. 

The party said Kaunda had performed exceptionally well in weathering the storm that was created by the deadly April 2022 floods, which brought mayhem and anguish to KwaZulu-Natal.

“We extend an appreciation to him for his dedication during the most difficult period, such as the ravaging floods, the outbreak of Covid-19, and many other things,” the ANC said. 

No good story to tell

But the opposition parties painted a different picture, saying Kaunda had no good story to tell and that his redeployment was a little too late.

“The eThekwini mayor being fired is welcomed by every single resident of this municipality who has been forced to suffer his incompetence and absence,” said Thabani Mthethwa, the DA’s caucus leader in eThekwini. 

The party, which is the main opposition in eThekwini metro, accused Kaunda of being in denial about the true state of the city, citing water woes, failing infrastructure, and a high crime rate chasing investors away, among other things that characterised the mayor’s tenure. 

“The DA has been constantly calling for the removal of Kaunda and welcomes the action that has been taken by his party to remove him.”

Kaunda, the former MEC for transport community safety and liaison for a long time, has been sitting on the edge of his seat, with opposition parties ganging up against him and calling for his head.

Among them were the EFF, the DA, the IFP and the ActionSA. His party defended him by stating that it would not follow the dictates of opposition parties.

Dynamics of ANC, DA coalition deal

The ActionSA said while it was not surprised at the sudden turn of events, the developments also highlight the dynamics of the DA and ANC coalition agreement, which is “dressed up as GNU [government of national unity]”. 

“It is clear that the DA needed reasons to donate their votes to help President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC continue running down our country,” said Zwakele Mncwango, the ActionSA chairman in KwaZulu-Natal.

“This decision by the ANC is a mere stunt aimed at nursing the DA’s ego, using Kaunda as a sacrificial lamb to pave the way for a closer relationship between the two parties.”

The IFP, on the other hand, said that although the party wanted Kaunda gone, it did not use him as a bargaining chip to get into bed with the ANC. 

“We treat matters of local government separately from provincial and national issues,” explained IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa. 

Friday is the last day for Kaunda at the office, and the ANC said it would announce his replacement in due course.

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