KwaZulu-Natal premier Sihle Zikalala speaking to journalists in Durban on Wednesday. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala spoke publicly on Wednesday for the first time about the axing of eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, saying there was no crisis.

Gumede, who is currently out on R50 000 bail, is facing fraud related charges in connection with a 2016 R208 million Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender and is set to return to the Durban Commercial Crimes Court on January 15, 2020.

Zikalala, addressing the provincial Climate Change and Sustainable Development summit in Durban said the provincial government was keeping an eye on Durban and Msunduzi where mayor Themba Njilo was also axed on Monday. Zikalala spoke on the issue as ANC Women's League President Bathabile Dlamini took a swipe at the ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership over its decision to fire Gumede.

Dlamini, speaking on Tuesday in Parktown said the ANCWL was planning to meet with the ANC provincial leadership on Thursday over its decision to fire Gumede.

“We are very unhappy about this culture that has been going on, a culture of making it easy to remove women from the positions they occupy,” Dlamini said.

Zikalala said all issues were under control.

“The ANC in the province took the view that we needed to reconstitute the executive councils and took the decision to withdraw people.

“Change happens now and again based on assessments and once these are done they are vetted.”

Zikalala said the decision that was taken was not about individuals but about the executive councils of municipalities.

He said the executive councils would continue to operate until they were reconstituted but he expected this to be a quick process - the PEC has indicated that new mayors and speakers will be announced next Thursday.

“There will be no lack of services and we call on civil society to support the process. Municipalities have a much bigger role to play on climate change.”

While Zikalala did not mention Gumede, he did touch on the challenges in Umlazi, saying cleanliness and challenges with waste removal remained a problem in the township, one of the largest in the city.

On Tuesday, the party’s provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said Gumede was fired because of the persistent billing crisis and uncollected litter like in Umlazi where the issue has been dragging on for years.

Political Bureau