23 May 2008
EBC, council clash over Mathendele hall
By Starsky Mkhonta
THE Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) and the Nhlangano town council have clashed over the use of certain facilities for registration.
At the centre of the clash is the Mathendele Community hall which has been turned into a registration centre by the EBC.
Town Clerk Mandla Mdluli has said council was not approached about the use of the hall. The community hall is used for various activities such as weddings and these have been called off to give way to the registration.
Mdluli, in an effort to save his skin, said he was not in anyway trying to be disrespectful to the EBC.
“That hall is normally always booked for events. Now that a national activity is being held there, we have been forced to have all the activities postponed indefinitely. Some of these who had booked are now blaming us for the changes,” said Mdluli. He said only the Civic Centre was the reserved for the registration process. He said he only learnt that the EBC team had also taken the community hall when organisers of activities that were to take place in the hall alerted him that a more important national assignment was taking place there.
“They called and mentioned that they had been refused access to the venue they had booked. A meeting for all residents under Ward 4 (Mathendele Township), which was earmarked for this week has also been cancelled. Weddings and other outdoor games as well as church services will no longer take place there until further notice,” said Mdluli. He said he was not sure who decided to allow the registration to take place in the hall without approaching the relevant authority. “It could be the elders of Mathendele who did not bother to consult first,” said Mdluli. Mdluli was, however, full of praises to Shiselweni Regional Administrator Paul Dlamini whom he described as a very professional somebody.
“The RA approached us about a venue at Civic Centre. We agreed and we are still looking forward to have the clerks brought here for the exercise. We should fully support the elections process and as a local government, we should be very supportive in whatever way,” said Mdluli.
Gordon Mbuli, who is in charge of the elections process in the Shiselweni region, said he was not aware that procedures were not followed regarding the decision to use the community hall. “What I am aware of is that we talked to the imisumpe (traditional authority). We did not gate-crash. However, I am still to find out from the council if there is a serious problem on this matter,” said Mbuli.