Durban - HOURS after the ANC in KwaZulu- Natal (KZN) confirmed it had fired Zandile Gumede as eThekwini mayor, her supporters started a two-pronged legal process to fight her axing.
The leader of the support group, Mzomuhle Dube, told Independent Media yesterday its legal challenge would start this week at the Pietermaritzburg High Court where it would be fighting the party over its June decision to disband the eThekwini region of the ANC.
This was chaired by Gumede and deputised by Mondli Mthembu, both accused of fraud and corruption in connection with an alleged dodgy R208million eThekwini waste collection tender.
Dube said after going through the report that was used to fire Gumede as mayor, they would decide whether to take that issue to court or not.
Stressing that the report used was illegal as the party relied on a Cogta (Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs) report which he claimed was only assessing officials, not political deployees, he hinted that they may challenge it in court.
“This is a continuation of what we have already started. The matter that will soon be filed in court is the one about the disbanding of the structure (eThekwini region ANC).
“But still we want to study whether the report the PEC (provincial executive committee) relied on to reach its decision was lawful. We will take it from there and explore our legal recourse. We have those two (actions) that are lined up,” Dube said.
Following her axing as mayor of KZN’s only metro, Gumede has remained mum about her future.
On the other side, the ANC was also tight-lipped about who would replace Gumede and the other seven executive committee members. This was after the party fired them, saying it would announce their replacements next week Thursday after meeting branches.
Several names were being touted, including those of MECs in the provincial cabinet who only came to office after the May elections.
One dark horse that emerged from sources in the ANC was the name of former deputy mayor, Nomvuzo Shabalala.
Shabalala left the municipality in 2016, together with former mayor James Nxumalo.
She is now a member of the national assembly representing the province in Cape Town.
“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, who asked not to be named.
With no formal structure of the ANC in the region, it was not easy to tell who would get the position of deputy mayor, speaker, chief whip and the chairs of committees.
Addressing the press yesterday after the firing of Gumede and her Msunduzi counterpart, Themba Njilo, the provincial secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli, said the exco members Zama Sokhabase, Barbara Fortein and former chief whip, Neli Nyanisa would be redeployed within the municipality.
He said there would be no vacuum as the current top structure, with acting mayor Fawzia Peer remaining in charge. However, Gumede’s future in the municipality was not clear.
“Gumede is not returning to work tomorrow, no,” Ntuli said, when asked to clarify what would happen to her as the others would stay in their positions until a new team was announced.
However, she was expected to make it into the regional task team that was still being formulated after it had been rejected by branches when it was first announced in June.