With the Local Government Elections done and dusted, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has appealed to all political parties to be united and to work together.

“We must never lose sight of the fact that we have a province to develop, and a country to grow. This is something that no political party can achieve in isolation from the rest of society,” Zikalala said.

Speaking during a virtual media briefing on recent developments in the province held in Durban on Monday, Zikalala noted that the KwaZulu-Natal province has 20 local municipalities and one metropolitan municipality that must be co-governed by different political parties.

“We do not as yet know which of the 10 Districts [municipalities] will fall in this category. All the relevant democratic processes to achieve this transition are currently underway.

“We want to emphasise that until these processes have been completed and new councils are sworn in all the currently constituted structures remain in place. Our Constitution does not allow for a vacuum and requires a smooth democratic handover from one administration to the next,” Zikalala said.

Reconstitution of new municipal councils

Zikalala highlighted that today the Electoral Commission (IEC) will publish the 2021 local government results in the Government Gazette, and as required by the Constitution, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) under MEC Sipho Hlomuka has set up a programme and a support plan to ensure that all councils are re-constituted, as required by the Constitution.

“As soon as political parties have concluded their processes, COGTA will work with all affected municipalities to reconstitute the councils and facilitate the election of office bearers.

“As per the requirements of the Municipal Structures Act, we have a plan in place to ensure that all municipalities meet the legal deadline which requires them to reconstitute themselves within 14 days after the gazetting of election results by the IEC,” the Premier said.

He emphasised that the IEC declared the results on 4 November 2021, meaning that the municipalities must be constituted by 23 November 2021.

“The District Municipalities on the other hand are required to convene 14 days after the last local municipality in that district, constitutes itself. This means that District Municipalities will be constituted at different intervals, however the last date for such constitution is 7 December 2021.

“The district elections will be facilitated by the IEC. Municipal Managers and their staff were trained by COGTA on how to apply the procedures. The last workshop was held on 8 November 2021 [and] all municipal managers have supplied dates and venues of the inaugural meetings,” Zikalala explained.

He also noted that the dates may change in some instances, depending on the readiness of political parties, however all local municipalities should have completed their first meetings by 23 November 2021.

“The only instances where local municipalities may go beyond this date is when there is a need to postpone the meeting in cases where the election of one or more office bearers results in a tie. The law dictates that the meeting be postponed when, at the first instance, voting results in a tie. In the event of a tie at the second meeting, the result is then determined by the drawing of a lot.

“While we plan to do our best to support and facilitate a smooth transition, we are by no means underestimating the challenges that may arise in the hung municipalities. We trust that parties will continue persuading each other and avoid political theatrics that may end up paralysing municipalities and hamper the delivery of services.

“No one should drop the baton for it is the very lives of our people which will be at stake if we, as elected representatives waste time instead of finalising this process within the set time,” Zikalala warned.

Source: South African Government News Agency

News Reporter