Plan to divide Human Settlement and Infrastructure Portfolio shot down

Opposition parties are up in arms over a mooted move by the ANC to divide various committees allegedly in the eThekwini metro apparently to satisfy its factions.

The critical portfolio of human settlements and infrastructure which is under the office of the newly elected deputy mayor Zandile Myeni is earmarked for reconfiguration.

Sunday World understands that the plan was a long time coming because the ruling party did not want a repetition of the tenure of Philani Mavundla, the metro former deputy mayor who was booted out unceremoniously.

The Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) leader was sent packing after a fallout with Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda which degenerated into a social media spat. Mavundla was accused of behaving like a de facto mayor and using the public office to campaign for his party.
Now according to insiders, the proposal to dismantle the key portfolio was at an advanced stage.

“Remember that under this cluster, you have water and sanitation as well. The unit controls a massive budget hence it is seen as being very strategic politically. Comrades want to keep a close guard on it,” said the insider who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation.

Sunday World has established that influential ANC eThekwini region deputy secretary Nkosenhle Madlala is touted to head the vacant economic development and planning committee, another powerful committee responsible for overseeing investment in the metro. It is widely believed that regional deputy chairperson Thembo Ntuli will be deployed to a stand-alone portfolio of human settlements while the EFF will be lured to take over the chairpersonship of infrastructure, a move which is aimed at silencing the red berets.

Another insider said the backing of the NFP’s Myeni to be deputy mayor was well calculated because the party is unlikely to cause a fracas should any changes be effected.

“The deputy mayor will inherit an empty office with no major influence. She will only be responsible for governance and service delivery issues,” said the insider.
IFP caucus leader Mdu Nkosi said they have not been told of the impending move.

“It has not come to our ears, but it’s clear that the EFF would want something for having supported the ANC. Now they have to divide the cluster to ensure that they get something. But we will have to ask questions should the matter be tabled in the council,” explained Nkosi.

Meanwhile, the EFF said the ruling party should get used to the idea that it was no longer in charge.

“I have heard that in the corridors, but nothing has been presented to us as yet. But any reconfiguration must work for the people of eThekwini and it must make sense to us,” said EFF caucus leader Themba Mvubu.

EThekwini metro which is the economic hub of the province controls over R55.5 billion budget.

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