Independent candidates on the rise in Ethekwini Municipality

The emergence of more independent candidates in KwaZulu-Natal’s Ethekwini Municipality in the run up to the municipal elections could lead to interesting changes in representation in the Metro council.

This is the view of political analyst Protas Madlala. He says it is possible that opposition parties will form a coalition and have a majority in the Durban-based council.

The municipality is run by the African National Congress (ANC) with 80 councillors, while the Democratic Alliance (DA) has the second highest representation with 47 councillors.

Many candidates across KwaZulu-Natal – disgruntled that they have been disqualified from being councillors – have opted to stand as independent candidates.

Two-hundred and seven independent candidates have registered in the province – 57 of them in Ethekwini.

Nathi Mkhize – spokesperson for one of the independent candidates – Petros Nxumalo – is positive that independent candidates can bring will change.

“We have been nominated by the community as people say they are tired of imposed councillors and they are not going to vote for those people. And they are not in touch with people on the ground they are just parachuting somewhere. But the candidate I am representing is a candidate that listens and understands what people are looking for.”

Xolani Memela is another independent candidate who had previously been aligned to the ANC. He agrees that independent candidates will bring change in the Ethekwini Municipality.

“Definitely, in the status quo of the municipality, I think if all independent councillors form a coalition, they will run the municipality and we can even choose the mayor of the municipality.”

Political analyst Protas Madlala believes the ruling party should be worried about the growing number of independent candidates.

“The growing number of independent candidates could be a worrying trend to the ruling party because what could that happen is that there is a possibility that they could easily form a coalition with other smaller parties. Such thing happened in Cape Town.”

Madlala believes a coalition among political parties will have a positive impact on service delivery.

The DA, the largest opposition party in the Ethekwini Municipality, says it will discuss the matter of coalitions after elections.

“We are not in discussion with any political organisation about possible coalition. But after election we will work with whoever is like-minded but who wants to work with us must values of freedom and opportunity that he is willing to speed service delivery,” says Provincial DA leader Zwakele Mncwango.

The Inkatha Freedom Party’s (IFP) member in the Ethekwini council, Mdu Nkosi, has similar sentiments to Mncwango, but adds that such a candidate would have to share the same values as the IFP.

“We don’t want to form coalition that will compromise service delivery. We would like to work with people who will be keen to help the people at grass roots level in terms of service delivery,” says Nkosi.


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