Backers of former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede dismiss step aside as ‘toothless’
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DURBAN - THE step-aside rule was a “toothless dog” that would fail to dampen the crusade for former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to be elected ANC regional chairperson.
This was the vow made by her supporters following the decision by Gumede and 12 others facing criminal charges to heed the step aside rule.
Yesterday, a source close to Gumede described the step aside as “a minor turbulence” that would only revitalise the majority branches to fight even harder for her political comeback.
He said, as her supporters, they had agreed to obey simply because it would not impede their campaigns.
After receiving formal notifications from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC), the 13 had obeyed the step-aside rule, party provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela confirmed yesterday.
Councillors would continue to participate in council meetings and, as a member of the legislature, Gumede would attend sittings, Ntombela added.
Because the step aside did not take away the incumbents’ salaries, attendance of a satisfactory number of meetings was a requirement in terms of municipal and legislature rules, he explained.
“In terms of the step-aside conditions, it is only participation in ANC activities that is not allowed, but people can carry out public service duties,” Ntombela said.
The step-aside rule has also affected seven eThekwini councillors: Mondli Mthembu, Zoe Shabalala, Sthenjwa Nyawose, Mthokozisi Nojiyeza, Siduduzo Khuzwayo, Bheko Phewa and Thembelihle de Lange.
Others are Msunduzi councillors Siphamandla Madlala, Nkosinathi Gambu, a branch secretary in iMpendle municipality, Zwakala Zuma, and Dumisani Phakathi.
Following a decision of the ANC National Executive Committee about the rule, KZN ANC deputy chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu was the first to heed the call, even before the PEC formally instructed those affected.