Christopher Pappas, Mayor of Ummenigni Local Municipality.
Gallo Images / Darren Stewart
- uMngeni Mayor Chris Pappas said Prime Minister Nomosa Dube-Ncube was denied permission to carry the Impizu into Mbufumini Stadium in KwaZulu-Natal.
- He said the time frame for planning the event was insufficient.
- Dube-Ncube insisted the event would go ahead.
Umgeni Mayor Chris Pappas said the KwaZulu-Natal Prime Minister, Nomosa Dube-Ncube, has been denied permission to host the Impizu at a prominent stadium in the city next weekend.
He hosted a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon explaining that Dube-Ncube could not use KZN Midlands’ Mbufumini Stadium because her office needed to adhere to basic government protocols.
The stadium is reserved for a community sports day, but Dube-Ncube insists that Impizu go ahead on Sunday.
Pappas said Dube-Ncube was welcome to host Impizou but not in the stadium.
Pappas’ briefing came after Dube-Ncube landed a swipe at him on Tuesday during her private briefing session at a meeting of underperforming KZN municipalities in Durban.
The move was described as a “weak and illegal attempt” by Pappas to “interfere with the impezu system of government”.
“These reactions clearly show a significant lack of understanding of the relationship between fields as governed by the constitution.”
She said the aim of the imbizos system is to create an opportunity for citizens to “interact directly with the government, raise their challenges and get reports and updates from the government.”
Protocols are not followed
Pappas responded saying that officials in the Prime Minister’s Office initially wrote a letter to the mayor of uMngeni on July 6 about the event taking place at the stadium on July 13.
In the same message, Pappas said, the staff of the prime minister indicated that there would be a planning meeting on July 10.
He said that was a concern because the timeframe was too short to plan for thousands to attend.
The Prime Minister of KwaZulu-Natal, Nomosa Dube Ncube.
Pappas said they were also concerned that Dube-Ncube had initially intended to host imbizo in the middle of the week when most people weren’t home.
He said Umengeni then received a second message on Monday, saying the event had been moved to July 15.
“With regard to the official reservations and protocol for the safety of the venue and the people present, we were not informed and the correct protocol was not followed.”
It is disturbing to know that a municipal facility will be invaded before the correct procedures are followed.
He said the prime minister’s office had breached several important protocols.
“We have domains, not levels of government, which means that no domain replaces another.”
He said that although the police were informed, most of the responsibility rested with Umengeni.
“Where we live still has regulations and responsibilities that we have to abide by because if people get hurt, it comes back to us.”
Pappas said that if anyone tries to enter the stadium to start preparing for the event, they will be faced with the force of the law.
He said the only booking they received was from a local ward advisor who did not speak for the Prime Minister’s Office.
“It’s not even a ward councilor in this area. It’s very unusual for an ordinary councilor to make reservations on behalf of the county government and bypass the mayor’s office. Also, the councilor didn’t pay for the place in full.”
Premier is still welcome in challenge
Pappas said they are still willing to host the premiere, but in a different location.
“To facilitate the visit of the Prime Minister, we have provided alternative venues in that and other favorable areas. It is important to note that the stadium is municipal property, not regional.
“By trying to force themselves into a place they have not yet booked, to this day, it is bullying tactic, which is why we have written very aggressively to the Prime Minister on a number of occasions.”
After Pappas’ briefing, Dubb-Ncube accused Pappas of turning a government event into a “political football”.
It said that leaders of all political parties, not affiliated with the ANC, used public facilities in ANC-ruled municipalities.
“Chancellor Pappas must also be reminded that the ANC is the democratically elected ruling party in South Africa and we will not allow him or anyone to sabotage the democratic outcome and to balkanize our country back into the fiefdoms and bantustans of the apartheid era while we are in power.”