Durban - While the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal remains tight-lipped about who will likely replace axed eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, former deputy mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala is believed to be the front-runner among several names being touted for the position, including those of prominent MECs in the provincial cabinet.
Amid predictions made on the sidelines and Gumede vowing to fight her removal, the party yesterday indicated it was rushing against time to fill vacant positions in the eThekwini and Msunduzi municipalities, as the two cities were currently without leaders.
Provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said the provincial executive committee would meet today to discuss who would fill the crucial positions.
“We will have our first meeting tomorrow about how we deal with eThekwini and Msunduzi.
“It would be the beginning of that discussion. It would be a meeting as well that would allow regions to make submissions to concretise vacancies that we are dealing with,” Ntuli said.
He added that the meeting would also give clarity and answers regarding who was to be named the mayor of Harry Gwala, the mayor of Ugu and the deputy mayor of Newcastle, and who would be appointed as the speaker.
Shabalala left the municipality in 2016 together with Gumede’s predecessor, James Nxumalo.
She is now a member of the National Assembly representing KZN.
“I don’t see James Nxumalo coming back to work with the same people who embarrassed him. Maybe Nomvuzo can consider coming back to be mayor, but not James. He was badly treated,” said an ANC member in the region.
With no formal structure of the ANC in the region, it is unknown who will get the positions of eThekwini’s deputy mayor, speaker, chief whip and the chairs of the respective committees.
Opposition parties in the meantime want the dysfunctional municipalities to be placed under administration, and a by-election to be held.
The DA caucus leader in eThekwini Nicole Graham said now that Gumede was gone, they were prepared to work
The IFP and the DA have welcomed the ANC Exco overhaul in the province.
“When Fawzia Peer was deployed as the acting mayor, I told her the things I believed we needed to get right (and these) were prioritising service delivery and the efficiency of basic line departments to do their jobs, because that’s what most people in the city are frustrated with,” Graham said.
“They need to also look after the financial well-being of the city, because our debt grows all the time, and our revenue drops by R1billion a year.”
Mdu Nkosi, the IFP’s caucus leader, said he expected the ANC to come up with a strategy to deal with Gumede’s supporters who plan to head to court to have her reinstated.
“They mentioned the issue of consequence management, irregular expenditure and also the waste removal tender.
“Our city manager (Sipho Nzuza) is part of those things; you can’t deal with the politicians only, and leave the administration.
“If we’ve got irregular expenditure, tenders that were issued irregularly and there is consequence management, those are the issues of the administration, so I want to see the ANC removing the city manager and the chief financial officer,” Nkosi said.
Vusi Khoza, EFF provincial chairperson and member of the provincial legislature, said that it was not enough that the ANC had acted on Gumede and the executive, and that the party needed to go all the way and deal with the 62 councillors implicated in the R208million Durban solid waste tender.
“We know for a fact that the arrest of the other 62 councillors is imminent,” Khoza pointed out.