At the fore­front

New mayor, whip, speaker in place


FORMER Chris Hani District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity chief whip Lindiwe Gunuza Nk­wentsha suc­cess­fully fended off a chal­lenge by op­po­si­tion party, the DA, in be­com­ing the ex­ec­u­tive mayor of the newly-merged Enoch Mgi­jima Mu­nic­i­pal­ity at the in­au­gu­ral meet­ing of the new coun­cil at the Mzi Sk­weyiya Hall on Fri­day.

The DA’s Chris de Wet was fielded as the may­oral can­di­date against Gunuza Nk­wentsha, who is also the ANC re­gional trea­surer in the Chris Hani district. De Wet re­ceived 11 votes against Gunuza Nk­wentsha’s 49.

There was one spoilt bal­lot pa­per and the EFF ab­stained from vot­ing for both the mayor and the speaker. Former Lukhanji fi­nance port­fo­lio head Mzox­olo Peter was elected as speaker, man­ag­ing to garner 49 votes out of a po­ten­tial 68 with DA can­di­date Zuko Mandile se­cur­ing 12.

Former Lukhanji mu­nic­i­pal man­ager (MM) Nol­wan­dle Gqiba chaired the meet­ing un­til the IEC took over for the se­cret bal­lot for the po­si­tion of speaker. Gqiba has been ap­pointed as in­terim MM of Enoch Mgi­jima for six months.

Tak­ing over the of­fi­ci­at­ing of the meet­ing, Peter said he ap­pre­ci­ated the op­por­tu­nity given to him by the ANC. He thanked the Mgi­jima fam­ily for giv­ing the lo­cal au­thor­ity – a merger of Lukhanji, Tsol­wana and Inkwanca – per­mis­sion to use the “name of their son”.

“We thank the peo­ple who voted dur­ing the elec­tions and all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties that con­trib­uted to mak­ing sure democ­racy is re­alised. Spe­cial ap­pre­ci­a­tion [goes] to the ANC for giv­ing us this op­por­tu­nity. If it were not for the ANC, we would not be here to­day,” Peter said.

Gunuza Nk­wentsha re­quested a mo­ment of si­lence be ob­served for the late former premier and cab­i­net min­is­ter Makhenkesi Stofile, who died last week. She then thanked the Mgi­jima fam­ily for be­ing part of the his­toric mo­ment.

“I am deeply hum­bled by the hope and trust you have placed in me to­day and I thank every per­son who came out to vote on Au­gust 3 to re­new their trust in the ANC to con­tinue lead­ing this area.”

The cur­rent form of gover­nance was built on pledges, trust and knowl­edge that the power of gov­ern­ment was given to it by the peo­ple. She said the com­mu­nity could be as­sured that the coun­cil would in­ter­act with it con­sis­tently.

“I have a burn­ing am­bi­tion for Enoch Mgi­jima Mu­nic­i­pal­ity – an am­bi­tion that will guide me every day as mayor of this newly-es­tab­lished en­tity. I want every per­son re­sid­ing in the bound­aries of this mu­nic­i­pal­ity to get the op­por­tu­ni­ties that it pro­vided to peo­ple like me and newly-elected coun­cil­lors as­sem­bled here.”

Her term of of­fice would be ded­i­cated to en­sur­ing that lo­cals and their fam­i­lies lived a bet­ter life and had an op­por­tu­nity not to just sur­vive, but thrive.

“We face real chal­lenges in the next 10 years of this new baby called Enoch Mgi­jima Lo­cal Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, but we can rely and draw upon un­equaled great­ness to ad­dress them.”

Gunuza Nk­wentsha thanked the pre­vi­ous may­ors in the former lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for their con­tri­bu­tions.

“For the past years you steered th­ese mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in the right di­rec­tion. You pro­vided qual­ity lead­er­ship that brought sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity.”

Former ward coun­cil­lor Funeka Sopa­pazi was elected as the chief whip dur­ing a spe­cial meet­ing in the coun­cil cham­bers on Wed­nes­day.




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