Where is Zandile Gumede and why isn't she attending council meetings?
Durban - Opposition parties have taken issue with the continued absence of former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede from council activities, saying it was unfair for ratepayers to continue paying a salary to a councillor who was no longer performing her duties.
Gumede, who is now a PR councillor in the municipality, was absent for the last council meeting of the year held at the ICC yesterday, and the opposition parties claimed that she had not attended council meetings since September.
DA chief whip Thabani Mthethwa said: “At today’s final eThekwini Council meeting for 2019, former mayor Zandile Gumede, who remains an ordinary member of the council, is again absent. Gumede has not attended a meeting of council since the beginning of September, when she arrived late to elect her successor, Mxolisi Kaunda.
“Our research also indicates that Gumede is not a member of any council committee and as such is not attending any other committee meetings. She continues to earn a salary from the municipal coffers despite not doing any work as a councillor and facing serious criminal charges.
“This is not fair to the ratepayers who continue to pay for a councillor who is not doing their work, but is busy with her political campaign,” he said.
Mthethwa also took issue that four ANC councillors, who were arrested by the Hawks on Wednesday, had also failed to attend yesterday’s meeting.
He said: “Councillor Nomthandazo Shabalala and Nomusa Mthembu also applied for leave under the guise of ‘personal commitments’. The other two - Thembelihle de Lange and Sithenjwa Nyawose - did not apply for leave. All four are out on bail for fraud, allegedly related to the same DSW matter as Gumede.”
The four were arrested by the Hawks on Wednesday on allegations that they had pressured a company hired to collect refuse in uMlazi to subcontract to companies they either had interest in or received benefits from. They appeared at the Durban Commercial Crimes Court and were released on R5000 bail.
IFP caucus leader Mdu Nkosi said the council could not continue to approve leave of absence when it was clear that those individuals no longer had a commitment to serve the community that elected them.
“You are getting paid, you cannot miss so many meetings.”
ANC councillor Thanduxolo Sabelo said the councillors had followed the proper procedure when applying for leave.
When contacted, Gumede said she was on leave and would not speak about a discussion she had not been a part of.