Mayor Zandile Gumede.
Durban - The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has vehemently denied reports that negotiations are under way behind the scenes to replace embattled eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede.

Provincial spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu said no decision has been taken regarding Gumede after being charged and her subsequent release on bail.

Sources told the Daily News that there were behind-the-scenes talks by the ANC provincial leadership to replace Gumede with Nomusa Dube-Ncube.

One source said no one was speaking out about the issue but there was concern about Gumede’s image following the recent charges against her and councillor Mondli Mthembu.

Another source confirmed the talks but said nothing would be made public until all the processes were followed.

“On Friday, Gumede and Mthembu are to present their case to the ANC eThekwini regional leadership, which in turn will present a report to the provincial leadership to make a decision. The regional leadership should be meeting tomorrow (today).

“Indications are that (Mike) Mabuyakhulu had set a precedent that those charged with corruption should not hold positions until their cases are finalised by the legal system. This mayor will have to take time to deal with her issues,” said the source.

Simelane-Zulu rubbished this, warning against “speculative journalism”.

“It is stories like that which give media people a bad name and we take exception to this. The provincial leadership has not taken any decision regarding this matter so we don’t know where or how these speculations generated.

“The provincial leadership is waiting for a report from the regional leadership on the matter.” she said.

Dube-Ncube’s spokesperson Lennox Mabaso said only the provincial ANC leadership could comment on people’s deployment. KZN political analyst Thabani Khumalo said Gumede had two options.

“She can make things easy for herself and resign. Another option is to take leave, but for how long because eThekwini municipality and the region itself are unstable?

“Things don’t look good if its leader and political head is embroiled in such serious charges against her.”

Xolani Dube, an analyst from the Xubera Institute for Research and Development, said Gumede could not be removed because of weak political leadership in the province.

“The Newcastle mayor is on bail for a murder charge and conspiracy to commit the crime. When the president was in the area, he moved around with him.

“Now what message would they be sending if they were to apply a different set of rules to different people? As for speculation about Dube-Ncube, that would be unfair to bring her into this mess,” he said.

Daily News