DA calls for Ward 101 by-election as ANC councillor remains incarcerated

Issued by Martin Meyer, MPL – DA KZN Spokesperson on CoGTA
23 Mar 2023 in Press Statements

The DA has called on KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) Department of Cooperative Governance (CoGTA), along with eThekwini City Manager, Musa Mbhele, to act in the best interests of Ward 101 residents and call a by-election.

The appeal comes after a recent written parliamentary reply (view here) to questions by the DA, which confirms that the elected ANC ward councillor, Mzimuni Ngiba, has been in jail for the past nine months. To add insult to injury, he is still receiving a salary, which includes all benefits.

Councillor Ngiba was arrested in May 2022 on suspicion of murdering the former ANC ward candidate shortly before the 2021 local government elections. Before he was detained, he had been elected to the position in a by-election.

This councillor has not attended any council meetings or committee meetings during the past nine months. He has also not attended to the many issues facing his ward. This places him in breach of the Councillors Code of Conduct.

Schedule 7 of the Municipal Structures Act also outlines the actions to be taken by the City Manager when there is a serious breach of the code. Yet, true to form, eThekwini has failed to act.

According to the Act, the matter should also have been investigated and brought to full council in eThekwini for discussion. It should also have been reported to KZN’s COGTA MEC, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi. Again, none of this has happened.

While the DA fully prescribes to the concept of innocent until proved guilty, government must act in the best interests of the people.

Ward 101, which includes Manor Gardens and Mayville, is facing many challenges. Despite this, residents have been without an elected representative for months on end. Instead, it has been left to DA PR Councillor Sibo Sibisi to fill the gap and try to ensure that services are provided.

It is unacceptable that Councillor Ngiba continues to earn a salary for work not done. The fact that he is incarcerated, and clearly unable to perform his duties, makes the situation even more bizarre. As always, it is the people of the metro who are suffering as a result.

The DA welcomes a commitment by COGTA to investigate this matter. The next step is to announce a by-election. We will continue to monitor the situation until it is resolved. The people of Ward 101 deserve better.