Vets gun for Mooi River

Mooi-Mpofana Municipality on Monday became the latest council to be shut down by former members of the ANC military wing, who are demanding jobs and tenders from municipal bosses. 

The ex-combatants brought the municipality to a complete standstill on Monday, demanding that the council give them eight of the 13 technical services jobs that were recently advertised.

As the Mkhonto weSizwe (MK) war vets marched into the municipality’s building in Mooi River, they instructed council staff to leave.

They then demanded a meeting with Mayor Xolani Duma and acting municipal manager Sibusiso Mabaso.

The MK Vets, who also demanded that the municipality provide them with sites on which to build houses, also closed a driver testing centre and a tourism centre.

After a meeting with municipal leadership, they eventually left, but the municipal offices remained closed and members of public seeking help were turned away.

In July, the MK Vets shut down uMgungundlovu­ District Municipality demanding jobs, tenders and housing.

In August they shut down three Midlands councils — Msunduzi, Richmond and Greytown’s Umvoti — demanding the same services.

Duma said they would meet with the MK Vets on Wednesday.

“We had a crossfire of words with them. They demanded to be given eight of the 13 posts that were recently advertised,” he said.

“I told them it was impossible to give them eight posts but we agreed that they must come to a council meeting to make their case.

“The ANC caucus said we can give them two posts but they would not budge when I told them that they can get two posts today.

“We have five wards in Mooi-Mpofana and we want to try and accommodate each ward in that recruitment process. That will be impossible if we give eight jobs to MK Vets.”

Duma said it was not the first time that the ex-combatants had made such demands. “There was a time when they demanded jobs from KSA [Khuselani Security and Risk Management] which provides security services to the municipality’s facilities and buildings. We negotiated with KSA management.

“We gave them three sites, Mooi River dump site, Bruntville community hall and the Bruntville community library. They have also been benefiting from construction sites.”

Duma said he had instructed the acting municipal manager to open a case with police. “This is totally unacceptable. As soldiers, they should be disciplined. I am not going to be held at ransom by 13 people. I will not allow this anarchy to continue,” he said.

MK Vets regional secretary Menzi Mkhize said council leadership had refused to meet them, hence the decision to shut down the municipality.

“If the management had agreed to meet with us and worked out a plan of how they were planning to meet our demands, we would not have closed the municipal offices,” he said.

Attempts to get comment from ANC leadership in the province were unsuccessful.

Earlier this month the ANC released a statement denouncing the acts of MK Vets and promised that they would take action in future.

“Any member of the ANC found to be associated with these acts of holding staff in municipalities hostage and disrupting the function of municipalities will be dealt with decisively in terms of the ANC constitution,” said provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli in the statement.