New Msunduzi Mayor, Mzi Thebolla, has promised to usher in a new era of service delivery underpinned by ethos of good governance, accountability and transparency.
Addressing councillors and guests shortly after his swearing in at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on Thursday, Thebella said his only task would be the execution of the mandate given to him by the people of Msunduzi.
“The mandate which has been given to us is very simple: to bring a new dawn. The people of Msunduzi have given us an opportunity to go back to the drawing board.
“Today is another opportunity to listen to our people and give them feedback. Local government is more about the provision of services and not about engaging in internal party politics,” he said.
Thebolla, who was sworn in after beating DA mayoral candidate Sibongiseni Majola by 51 votes to 24 during Wednesday’s Special Full Council Meeting, was nominated by the ANC provincial leadership as the party’s candidate to replace axed mayor, Themba Njilo.
A former Msunduzi and uMgungundlovu District Municipality councillor, Thebolla was an employee of the KZN Provincial Legislature when the ANC provincial leadership nominated him.
The new mayor assumes the leadership role at a time when Msunduzi residents – who had been complaining about the municipality’s failure to deliver decent services, were losing faith in the council – which a few months ago was put under administration.
Uncollected refuse, a dysfunctional billing system and persistent water and power outages are among some of the things which residents had been complaining about.
While Thabella said he and his team would be working on a turnaround strategy for Msunduzi, the new mayor promised residents that areas that required a quick intervention would be prioritised.
“I will sit down with the municipality’s administrator to identify areas that need a quick intervention. We intend to turn the Msunduzi Municipality into a city of choice,” he said.
Thebolla invited residents, business and opposition parties to submit ideas on how the municipality could best work for them.
“This is another opportunity to listen to our people and give them feedback,” he said.
Thebolla was sworn in alongside the municipality’s new deputy mayor, Manilal Inderjit, speaker Eunice Majola and new Chief Whip, Vusi Ntshangase.
Guests who attended the swearing in ceremony included Premier Sihle Zikalala, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC Sipho Hlomuka and Treasury MEC Ravi Pillay.
Addressing councillors shortly after the new Msunduzi Municipality leadership’s swearing in, Zikalala said the provincial government and the ANC had intervened after identifying shortcomings within the council ranging from poor oversight to lack of professionalism within the municipality’s workforce.
“As the provincial government we are saying all this must now come to an end. Now is the time for us to reward the trust which the people of Msunduzi have placed on us,” he said.
The swearing in of the new Msunduzi Municipality leadership came after the ANC provincial leadership had removed Njilo, his deputy Thobani Zuma and speaker Jabu Ngubo following poor service delivery at the local government.
Njilo, Zuma and Ngubo were removed alongside ANC councillors who had been serving in the municipality’s Executive Committee (EXCO).
Apart from Thebolla, Inderjit, Majola and Ntshangase, the ANC Msunduzi caucus nominated councillors Sibongile Mkhize, Zanele Ngcobo, Gugu Dladla and Ntuntuko Ntshangase to serve in the municipality’s EXCO.