Zuma’s best buddy bails out ANC in eThekwini squeaker

Durban Mayor

Celani Sikhakhane

Best friend to former president Jacob Zuma and leader of Abantu Batho Congress, Philani PG Mavundla, turned up at the eleventh hour to save the ANC from losing the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.

Mavundla joined forces with the ANC on Wednesday, shocking members of other opposition parties.

The former mayor of uMvoti Local Municipality in Greytown paved the way for the ANC’s Mxolisi Kaunda to secure the mayorship against DA candidate Nicole Graham. 

Kaunda received 113 votes against Graham’s 104, with only two spoiled ballots out of 219.

In return for his favour, Mavundla was rewarded with the position of Deputy Mayor in eThekwini. 

Upon learning of his betrayal, several members of opposition parties began hurling insults at him, with some branding him a “sell out”. EFF councillors accused him of accepting a bribe from the ruling party in the form of his new position.

Mavundla dismissed the allegations.

“I may not be filthy rich but for anyone to buy me it would be too expensive. I am not for sale, I know what I stand for,” Mavundla told Scrolla.Africa.

A former member of the ANC, in 2011 Mavundla became the country’s first mayor in the country to refuse his salary. He later defected from the ANC after growing frustrated. He formed the Abantu Batho Congress after a short spell with the NFP.

During the council’s first sitting on Monday, Mavundla contested the position of the speaker against Thabani Nyawose of the ANC but he was defeated.

Opposition members said they felt especially aggrieved as Mavundla had attended all of their meetings before jumping ship to the ANC camp.

Nyawose was in fact gunning for the position of mayor and did not expect to be elected speaker. He had even filmed himself slaughtering a cattle at the weekend to report to his ancestors that he will be made mayor of eThekwini. The video was widely shared on social media