By Nokuthaba Dlamini
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo has reinstated Somvelo Dhlamini as Victoria Falls mayor, barely a week after the councillors had moved in to appoint Ward 5 Councillor Richard Mguni as his replacement.
His re-appointment into office follows his reinstatement as ward 9 Councillor on Tuesday last week after he was recalled from his position and later expelled by the MDC Alliance party in February on allegations of violating party rules and disrespecting protocol.
Minister Moyo decided based on a letter written to him by Douglas Mwonzora who is secretary-general of the MDC-T as per the recent Supreme Court ruling which recognised Dr Thokozani Khupe as the party leader.
While the local authority’s other 10 councillors welcomed his reinstatement, they quickly replaced him with Cllr Mguni, arguing that Dhlamini was now an ordinary councillor after he had reportedly resigned from the mayoral position.
Dhlamini argues that his resignation was done under duress from the party, and he had not formally written to the Town Clerk Ronnie Dube.
In a letter addressed to Dube, Moyo said Dhlamini was to be retained as Mayor with immediate effect.
“It has been brought to my attention that on May 2020 at a meeting of Victoria Falls Municipality, an election was held for the position of Mayor for the town of Victoria Falls,” read the letter.
“Please note that in terms of Section 48 and 103 of the Urban Council’s Act, a Mayor is elected to office after a general election and hold office until the election or until a successor has been appointed.
“The appointment is Section 278 provides for the due processes of the removal of a mayor and councillor, and following my evenly referenced letter dated 5 May 2020, Cllr S. Dhlamini was re-instated as a Councillor. As such there is no provision for an election of a new mayor as Cllr Dhlamini retains his post until the end of his term of office.
In terms of section 316, I hereby order that the election of a new mayor Victoria Falls is nullified, and Cllr S Dhlamini continues in the office of Mayor.”
Dube confirmed receiving notification from the minister, adding that the focus will now be on service delivery.
“We welcome what the minister has said, and l have called Cllr Dhlamini notifying him about the developments…we are now looking into working together with him and other councillors to provide adequate service delivery to our residents.”
Dhlamini confirmed receiving the news and said he was ecstatic that the law had taken its course.
Cllr Mguni on the other side in an earlier interview had hinted letting go of his position as the mayor.
“I did not appoint myself, and following his resignation other councillors voted me in, but if the minister decides that I am not the suitable office holder, then I will step down for Dhlamini. There is no bad blood between myself and him and we will continue working together.”