The ANC looked set to lose control of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality at the first council meeting on Monday, 22 November, after the IFP pulled out of its agreement with the ruling party and decided to side with the DA and EFF to oust the ANC, as had happened in Gauteng.
The ANC may have been in serious danger of losing its last hope of retaining a metro until the council meeting at Moses Mabhida stadium was gatecrashed by people wearing the party’s regalia.
Power failures at the venue added to the fiasco and scuppered the opposition’s plan and the meeting was called off.
It was reconvened on Wednesday, at the Durban ICC, and to the dismay of the opposition, it quickly emerged that the ANC’s politicking had paid off.
The ruling party removed Councillor Nthokoza Sibiya from its executive committee list and replaced her with the Abantu Batho Congress (ABC) President Philani ‘PG’ Mavundla.
Mavundla was once an ANC member – and was the mayor of Umvoti in 2011. He left the party in July 2019 and joined the National Freedom Party (NFP) but it was not long before the property tycoon was on the move again and formed his own party – the ABC, which won two seats in the metro council in the 2021 Local Government Elections.
At the initial council meeting on Monday, Mavundla told The Witness that he convinced other smaller parties to vote against the ANC.
By Wednesday, he clearly reconsidered. According to TimesLive, the smaller parties he referred to were neglected in both the ANC and IFP deal and the opposition plan, which included the DA, IFP and EFF.
When it was time to vote, Mxolisi Kaunda was re-elected as eThekwini mayor with 113 votes to the DA‘s, Nicole Graham who only garnered 104 of the 219 votes. There were two spoiled ballots.
Mavundla was elected as Deputy Mayor with 113 votes as well.
Mavundla was once a staunch of former President Jacob Zuma. He raised eyebrows when he openly claimed to support Msholozi financially during the early days of his corruption trial, according to IOL.
In 2014, he also reportedly offered to settle the R7 million bill Zuma was slapped with for Nkandla upgrades after the public protector found that he had unduly benefitted from taxpayer money during the ‘pay back the money’ saga.
Following Mavundla’s change of heart, social media was ablaze and ‘connected the dots’ between the ABC President and Zuma.
— PW Ngcobo🇿🇦 (@Nyuswapw) November 24, 2021
The RET Forces played politics and saved Ethekwini. Meet Mxolisi Kaunda and Mr Mavundla who dropped opposition parties to ensure Kaunda continues as Mayor. pic.twitter.com/B21RDnStTa
— Abangani ba Msholozi (@FriendsOfZuma) November 24, 2021
After he ditched the opposition for the ANC, the EFF referred to him as a “sell-out” throughout proceedings on Wednesday.
Mavundla, however, said he could not be bought to IOL. He referred to his own wealth and said he would be too expensive.
“Maybe not filthy rich but for anyone to buy me it would be too expensive. I am not for sale, I know what I stand for,” said the ABC president.
When questioned about whether his vote was bought by Newzroom Afrika, he also said he would be too expensive to buy.
He explained his decision to switch as follows:
“Let’s look at it this way; we have got 18 small parties in that bloc. The first issue is that on the other side you have the DA. So, if we go and vote in that bloc it means that we are saying we need a DA mayor here in Durban. It can’t be,” said Philani Mavundla.
When questioned about why he was opposed to a DA mayor, Mavundla said, “It can’t be. Remember we have been oppressed since 1652. As we speak right now, the natives don’t own anything in South Africa.
“It’s owned by people who came from Europe. It’s fine, we’ve accepted them as our visitors but to turn around and say ‘me, I must vote for the visitors to be in charge in my own home.’ I’m not too sure if that is a wise move.”
He also explained why he and other small parties were willing to oust the ANC on Monday before switching sides.
“On Monday, we were together in the cabal and ready to push for the DA that is a fact. There are no lies about it.
“But that made the very same ANC wake up and realise that if they don’t listen to what we say, ‘what is going to happen to them?’”
Remember His Name…Cde PG Mavundla https://t.co/87cDbyZ7XD
— Dudu Zuma-Sambudla (@DZumaSambudla) November 25, 2021