Who is in charge at City Hall?
After Zandile Gumede lost her precious mayoral chains this week, is our city operating on auto pilot mode at present?
I ask simply because the situation at City Hall is about as clear as mud at present after a series of ambiguous announcements and interviews by ANC provincial leaders regarding the overhaul of the municipal executive committee.
In one breath, we’re told Gumede and seven executive committee members have been axed and that their replacements will be announced next week.
Soon afterwards, there were reports that the fate of acting mayor Fawzia Peer was unclear. This was followed by an assurance there would be no vacuum in leadership at City Hall because Peer would be holding the embattled fort.
Like a scene from the Mad Hatter’s Party, things became “curiouser and curiouser” when we were told some axed executive members would be redeployed within the municipality.
For Pete’s sake, why? If these executive members have been given the chop, it’s reasonable to assume something was amiss.
If their performance did not measure up to the expectations of the provincial ANC, why let them loose again where they may cause even more havoc and disorder?
Let’s be clear about one thing. Nothing personal, but Gumede is not my idea of a dynamic and inspirational leader.
She was chosen by her party to fulfil the role of mayor, but her performance and track record so far have been rather lacklustre and uninspiring, especially for a metro with an annual budget of R52 billion.
If she wants to pursue her other ambitions as head of the ANC in eThekwini, she’s quite entitled to. But most ratepayers in the metro are not interested in petty factional squabbles in the region. They want a mayor, councillors and officials who can ensure order, accountability and the delivery of basic services to the people they claim to represent.
Ratepayers and residents don’t want to see heaps and heaps of uncollected rubbish mounting on their pavements; they are sick and tired of unreasonable delays in repairing blocked sewage pipes and storm water drains; they are tired of protests that grid lock the city centre when they go about their daily business; and they hate the city being referred to as “Dirtbin” because of growing crime and grime on our streets.
Some people may be celebrating Gumede’s exit, but don’t be fooled that Durban’s problems are resolved now that she is out of the picture.
Gumede and her allies aren’t going to slink away into some quiet corner to lick their wounds.
No, they’ll be girding their loins in preparation for a fightback - first in the courts and then the ANC’s elective regional conference.
They will then set their sights on the municipal elections in 2021, and work feverishly to assemble their own candidates to recapture power.
Don’t say you weren’t warned.
* The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.