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Ethekwini mayor fights back

Politics
Durban - Ethekwini mayor Zandile Gumede has come out guns blazing, aiming first at the SABC, which she has insisted retract a claim that she said last week’s anti-Zuma march was “an act of treason”, then at DA leader Zwakele Mncwango, who has laid a charge against her.

But mayoral spokesperson Mthunzi Gumede said despite the retraction, the DA and Mncwango were persisting with the charges.

“Regional SABC editor Busani Mthembu admitted they got it wrong and he apologised for the error. He subsequently issued a retraction on air,” the spokesperson said.

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File photo: Mayor Gumede was now consulting the ANC and her legal team to take the matter forward.

Gumede said the mayor always welcomed criticism if she did wrong or made mistakes.

“But we must draw a line when this includes false allegations purely done for political point scoring,” he said.

Mayor Gumede was now consulting the ANC and her legal team to take the matter forward.

After the incident, which was broadcast on radio, Mncwango said the party had laid a charge against the mayor for "inciting violence".

“It doesn’t matter if she said it or not; what matters is that it was widely reported that the mayor called the march an act of treason. It is not for us to prove whether it was true or not,” Mncwango said at the time.

On Saturday Mncwango said the DA had done no wrong and acted on the report by SABC radio stations.

“As responsible leaders we could not just ignore what was being said on radio. We are curious about why she did not act when the media reports first came out. She also did not deny having said what was reported when we wrote to her, which was before we took the legal route.”

Mncwango said the DA wrote to Gumede asking her to publicly withdraw or dispute the allegations before they laid a charge against her. He claimed she never responded.

“This report was damaging and we believe, as a responsible leader, she should have availed herself of the record that would have been aired on radio instead of delegating the matter to her spin doctor,” he said.

Mncwango said the DA would not withdraw the charges but the mayor had to submit her evidence to the police to have her name cleared.

“The court will decide if she is guilty or not once they have all the evidence.”

The SABC might also have to make submissions to the court which could include the original audio of the interview in which the mayor was allegedly misquoted.

Regarding the ANC Youth League’s disruption of the Ahmed Kathrada memorial in Durban, they had not apologised despite being asked to do so.

Members of the youth league heckled ANC treasurer-general Dr Zweli Mkhize and sang Awusitshele ukuthi uZuma wenzeni (Please tell us what has Zuma done wrong) during Mkhize’s speech. He ignored them and tried to speak over their singing.

The organisers, the Active Citizens Movement (ACM), had tried to interdict the ANCYL from attending the event but its application was denied by the Durban High Court, though the court ordered that those attending should be on their best behaviour.

“The organisers gave us a deadline to apologise, but we are not going to do that. Instead we have written back, asking for a meeting between our organisations because we feel that some issues have been overlooked. We need to engage on those first before anyone can be asked to apologise,” ANCYL provincial spokesperson Mandla Shange said yesterday.

He conceded that some youth league members did participate in the disruption but said they behaved after the organisation’s provincial secretary, Thanduxolo Sabelo, reprimanded them.

See further comment on the issue in the Sunday Tribune Herald.

Sunday Tribune

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