November 28, 2005

The IFP maintains that the dissolution of the Abaqulusi Municipality by the MEC for Local Government, Mike Mabuyakhulu, needs to be seen in the context of the upcoming local government elections.

"The dissolution of the Abaqulusi Council was a politically motivated ploy to usurp the control of this municipality from the IFP - without putting the matter to the electorate," said IFP Deputy Chief Whip in the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Parliament, Geoffrey Bhengu MPP.

Mabuyakhulu invoked his constitutional right and dissolved the council on the basis of vague allegations concerning the municipal budget, electing of the council's officials, a number of "delinquent" councilors, and their "absenteeism".

Bhengu also said:

"The Abaqulusi Council was running smoothly. The budget was passed in time and in compliance with the law. There was never a case of multiple officials.  All disciplinary matters were resolved internally to the satisfaction of the council. There was no reason for ministerial intervention.

"The council's only sin was that it was run by the IFP. The step which truly destabilised it was the dissolution of the council by the Minister who did so in a politically motivated effort to deliver the municipality to the ANC fold - without giving the local people a say in an election.

"Mabuyakhulu's interpretation of the Constitution has been as extraordinary as it has been inconsistent. The Minister referred to the Constitution only insofar as it supported his and his party's claims.

"These clearly extend to three other IFP-controlled municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal. The warning shot has been fired for Uthukela District Municipality, Umvoti District Municipality and Nongoma Municipality. Mabuyakhulu is determined to get them all.

"If the Minister genuinely believes that the Constitution provides the answer to the problem of dysfunctional municipalities, why doesn't he intervene in a truly chaotic municipality, such as Kokstad? There is no need. Kokstad already is under the ANC control."

For further information contact:
Geoffrey Bhengu: 084 555 3513