South Africa - Durban - 20 August 2019 - Former KwaZulu Natal MEC Dr Meshack Radebe at his home in Maqongqo, outside Pietermaritzburg, unpacking his journey in politics on the 20 August 2019. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA

Durban - Former KwaZulu-Natal legislature deputy speaker Meshack Radebe has revealed that he pleaded with former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to accept the ANC’s decision to fire her from the city’s top position.

Speaking to Independent Media on Wednesday at his retirement homestead of Maqongqo village outside Pietermaritzburg, Radebe said he was concerned about the direction the ANC was taking. He said it started at the party’s elective conference in Nasrec in 2017. He said this is where he witnessed leaders giving away cash in exchange for votes.

Radebe and Gumede are known staunch supporters of former president Jacob Zuma and they campaigned for Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma to win against President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He said when he spoke to Gumede on Monday morning, he noticed that she was not angry but she was confused about the provincial executive committee (PEC)’s decision to recall her.

“If the ANC say she must step aside, she must step aside.

“Even this (Monday) morning I was talking to Zandile as I (normally) speak to Zandile. I do advise Zandile, saying ‘sisi cool down’,” said Radebe.

He was reacting to the PEC’s decision to fire Gumede after it had conducted an assessment which concluded she had performed poorly as the mayor.

Gumede’s supporters are vehemently opposed to the firing. She issued a statement last week saying she was seeking political and legal advice on how she should react to the decision.

Radebe, who celebrated his 70th birthday two weeks ago, said he spoke to Gumede in his capacity as an elder brother to her.

“I say, ‘no, you cannot do that, you can’t do that’,” said Radebe.

Radebe said he had on many occasions intervened in eThekwini Region to “put out fires”.

He said every time he had to intervene he would first consult Zuma for advice on how to tackle the situation.

He insisted Gumede was not angry.

“It is confusion more than anything. She is saying ‘what is the problem, where is the problem, where did I go wrong?’

“‘If there is something wrong why was I not told earlier? Why was I allowed to do all these things that I am now accused of?’” he said.

Political Bureau