12 ANC members face suspension
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DURBAN - TWELVE members of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal who are facing criminal charges, but had defied the party’s call to voluntarily step aside, are expected to be suspended on Monday. The party gave all of them until on Monday to step aside or be suspended from the party.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela told the Daily News on Sunday that the party had called these members to the provincial office during the week to discuss the issue but the final decision on the matter would be communicated to them and to the public after the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) meeting on Monday.
He said they were given an opportunity to voluntarily step aside before the PEC communicated its decision to them.
The Daily News understands that the only decision taken by the ANC national executive committee (NEC) was that those who defied the decision to step aside would be suspended.
Spokesperson for former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede’s faction, Ntando Khuzwayo said as far as he knew seven eThekwini ANC councillors and Gumede had been suspended.
He said that in a meeting he held with branches on Friday, he received information that letters of suspension had been issued. He was with Gumede on Saturday and she had apparently told him she had not received anything.
“We know letters have been issued. It could be that they were not in the hands of the affected members yet, but the likelihood is that all of them will be served with letters of suspension today. It will be just a formality,” said Khuzwayo.
Further, he said their faction would call a media briefing to announce whether they accepted the suspensions or would challenge them in court as had been done by suspended party secretary-general Ace Magashule.
Several affected councillors who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday said they had not yet received letters.
In the eThekwini ANC branch, seven councillors who have to vacate their seats are:
• Mondli Mthembu, who was first charged with fraud and corruption alongside Gumede;
• Zoe Shabalala, who appeared on Gumede’s slate for the upcoming regional conference, as treasurer; and
• Sthenjwa Nyawose, Mthokozisi Nojiyeza, Siduduzo Khuzwayo, Bheko Phewa and Lihle De Lange.
The councillors are among 22 who are accused of being involved in looting the city of millions through the R430 million Durban Solid Waste tender. They are facing more than 2 000 charges and their case was transferred to Durban High Court where they are expected to have a pre-trial hearing on June 14.
The province’s step-aside list included the seven eThekwini councillors, Zandile Gumede and ANC deputy provincial chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu, who has already stepped aside. Also on the list were Msunduzi Municipality councillor Siphamandla Madlala, who is facing fraud and corruption charges; Nkosinathi Gambu, who was charged with the murder of CR17 leader Maqatha Mchunu in 2017; branch secretary in ward 1 in iMpendle Municipality Zwakala Zuma, who is facing a stock theft case; and Dumisani Phakathi, who was charged with murder in taxi-related violence.
On March 29 the NEC decided that all members charged with serious crimes should step aside within 30 days or face suspension from the party.
The party is in a fierce battle with Magashule, who has taken the party to court to challenge the constitutionality of his suspension. Speaking after an NEC meeting, President Cyril Ramaphosa was quoted as saying it was a pity that Magashule was now challenging the party’s constitution he had used in implementing the party's decisions in the past as secretary-general.
In terms of the guidelines, those who have stepped aside or suspended members are not allowed to address party members or represent the party in any form but Magashule has openly defied the party by addressing members who went to support former president Jacob Zuma when he appeared in the Pietermaritzburg High Court last Monday. With him at the court were MP and NEC member Bongani Bongo and NEC member Tony Yengeni.