Acting mayor Fawzia Peer. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Political speculation was rife on Tuesday that the ANC planned wholesale changes at eThekwini Municipality that included not just the axing of embattled Mayor, Zandile Gumede but her deputy, Fawzia Peer too.

This as the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal prepared for a 1pm press conference on Tuesday to spell out the reasons for the changes. On Monday night, Independent Media reported that Provincial Executive Committee had decided to axe Gumede, Speaker of the council, William Mapena and chief whip Neli Nyansia.

The PEC had used a report on the state of eThekwini which showed that the only KZN metro was paralysed due to infighting of the top leadership as the basis for the axing.

Sources within the ANC said the Peer was also expected to get the boot.

In an interview with IOL on Tuesday, Peer said she had not been informed of any plans to axe her.

"I have not heard anything," she said.

"They have called a meeting for this morning (Tuesday) so we are all going there. I will see when I get there," she said.

Gumede and her executive were given the boot despite a spirited campaign by her and her backers lobbying other regions to back her to stave off the inevitable fall after her name was tainted when she was charged with fraud and corruption in May this year.

The decision to fire the whole troika instead of Gumede alone was seen as a way of trying to dispel the notion that she was the only target. 

Instead, the leadership wanted it to look as if there was a clean up of the troubled metro and other municipalities under the ANC in KZN.

“There was a debate on whether she was fired because of her court case or the failing metro which is riddled with corruption and failure to spend some grants given to it. 

At the end, the provincial said it was using the state of the metro to get rid of her and the team that came in with her in 2016,” said a source.

Daily News