Former Ethekwini mayor Zandile Gumede Picture : Motshwari Mofokeng /African News Agency (ANA)
Former Ethekwini mayor Zandile Gumede Picture : Motshwari Mofokeng /African News Agency (ANA)

Former eThekwini head expected to defy party’s step aside rule

By Vernon Mchunu Time of article published May 25, 2021

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DURBAN - FORMER eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and the 12 others who were yesterday officially notified by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC to step aside are expected to stand their ground against the controversial rule.

Asked if Gumede would heed the call to step aside, Ntando Khuzwayo, a spokesperson for the powerful eThekwini ANC faction, said the rule would not be heeded as it was unfair and served to pursue a political agenda.

“Our position remains the same as the majority branches of eThekwini. We are opposed to the step-aside as it is being applied as a tool to deal with certain individuals,” said Khuzwayo, speaking on behalf of 68 of the 111 branches in the region.

“Remember, Zandile Gumede, Zoe Shabalala and Thembelihle de Lange were exonerated by the provincial Integrity Committee (in December last year). Now if they are asked again to step aside (due to the court cases before them), we see this as a form of double jeopardy. It is unprocedural and unconstitutional.”

He added that the step-aside rule was being used to push Gumede out of the race for the powerful position of regional chairperson, which is up for grabs with the regional conference expected to take place before the local government elections.

“Clearly the province has an agenda to get her out of the scene in order to pave a way for their preferred candidate,” said Khuzwayo, who is also chairperson of the Gedleyihlekisa Zuma sub-region.

In eThekwini, seven councillors affected by the step-aside rule include Mondli Mthembu, Zoe Shabalala, Sthenjwa Nyawose, Mthokozisi Nojiyeza, Siduduzo Khuzwayo, Bheko Phewa and Thembelihle de Lange.

At provincial level, deputy provincial chairperson Mike Mabuyakhulu has already heeded the step-aside call.

Others were Msunduzi councillors Siphamandla Madlala, Nkosinathi Gambu, a branch secretary in iMpendle municipality, Zwakala Zuma, and Dumisani Phakathi.

The ANC NEC has resolved that comrades should step aside or face being suspended, which would be reviewed after six months.

Asked what would happen should the step-aside rule be ignored, ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said more details would be provided today.

THE MERCURY

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