Durban - The ANC should fire suspended eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and 62 councillors linked to fraud and corruption within 14 working days or face the wrath of the city’s residents.
These are the views of the SACP’s eThekwini branch.
The comments come after the ANC PEC asked Gumede to take leave of absence after she and 12 co-accused, which include councillors, managers, business owners and companies, were in May charged with criminal offences in connection with R208 million worth of Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tenders.
Some ANC members in the region, including the Women’s League, have protested against Gumede’s suspension. It is believed Gumede enjoyed the support of the majority of the ANC regional executive committee (REC) members.
Addressing a press briefing in Durban on Wednesday, the communist party’s regional secretary Phumlani Mthembu said if the ANC, as the SACP’s alliance partner, failed to comply with their demands, the party would mobilise communities to force those implicated in corruption to step down.
He revealed the SACP on Wednesday penned a letter to the ANC’s national and provincial executive committee asking them to remove implicated councillors and managers from the council. Mthembu said the councillors were eroding the integrity of the municipality.
“When you have been implicated in corruption, it is better that you resign,” he said.
Mthembu accused the now-disbanded ANC REC of having stifled its relations with the SACP in the region by repeatedly snubbing the invitations to discuss challenges facing the municipality.
“As we are in alliance with the ANC we (are) supposed to be discussing the issue of the councillors who must be recalled. We have been calling for ANC to come to the meetings. Hence we are now writing an open letter to the provincial leadership so that something can be done. If the ANC fails to listen to us, people will have to take action and we are going to mobilise them to take action,” he said.
He further indicated that under Gumede, the municipality had been captured by the Amadelangokubona Business Forum, which he described as “vigilante tenderpreneurs masquerading as a force of radical economic transformation”.
“This grouping has disrupted service delivery and other objects. This must not be left unchallenged.
“The party believes the tender system is opportunistically used by a parasitic network ganging up to loot state resources.”
Mthembu said Gumede had to be removed to restore the credibility and integrity of the municipality.
Former ANC regional secretary Bheki Ntuli, who is now the regional task team deputy co-ordinator, said the SACP had its political right to voice its opinion about the municipality. But he denied the region had refused to meet the SACP.
“Since early last year, we have been having alliance meetings held every Monday at Commercial City building’s ANC regional offices to discuss elections matters.
“After the elections, the region was disbanded, and we were disturbed by protests which prevented us from holding meetings,” said Ntuli.
Ntuli highlighted that there were several meetings to be held soon with all tripartite alliance members - the SACP, Cosatu and the SA National Civic Organisation. “The SACP has the right to voice what they think is wrong. But the matter of whether or not to remove those people is to be dealt with by the province. Whether they are correct or not, the province will create a platform for them.”
Repeated calls to obtain comment from ANC provincial spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu and provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli failed as their phones went unanswered.