ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede has come out to back the recent appointment of former social development minister Bathabile Dlamini as the interim chairperson of the Social Housing Regulatory Authority board.

She says the leaders who appointed Dlamini applied their minds and found her suitable for the job. 

Dlamini, according to media reports, was appointed to the position by the minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu. It was alleged that the contested appointment was part of Sisulu’s strategy to amass political support in the ANC in preparation of a battle to unseat David Mabuza as party and country deputy president.

Then Gumede weighed in. She first raised the matter of the appointment and the uproar that followed it at a meeting of the eThekwini ANC region task team on Wednesday. At the meeting, she told the deeply divided region that their enemies are at work creating suspicions among members so that there is disunity in the movement. 

She said: “When the ANC deploys the ANCWL (Women’s League) President Cde Bathabile to head a government agency, the enemy saw an opportunity to attack Cde (comrade) Lindiwe Sisulu and other leaders of the ANC. These are the wedge drivers that President (Oliver) Tambo warned us about. Be careful comrades the enemy is very busy, even here in our region. They will use our divisions to liquidate the ANC.”

Asked by Independent Media on Thursday whether she backs Dlamini for the position or not, Gumede said there was nothing sinister with the appointment. 

“We should stop the habit of linking unrelated events. I think the deployment of Mama Bathabile was correctly carried out, all the leaders sat down and applied their mind to it. So we must stop linking unrelated events. Yes she was leader under former president (Jacob) Zuma and that does not mean she does not respect or recognise the sitting president (Cyril Ramaphosa). 

“The people who come from the sidelines and start linking unrelated events are the wedge drivers we don’t want, the wedge drivers who suspiciously question decisions of leaders’ decision by linking unrelated events in order to divide us. We must try by all means to be united and where we are not clear we must seek clarifications in a constructive manner. By failing to ask for clarification, we may end up leading others astray,” Gumede responded. 

Talking about issues of unity in the region which was supposed to hold its conference before this year folds but moved to early next year, Gumede said unity talks are proceeding well. She stressed that the will of the ANC branches in the region would be respected by all.

“Even if there is a heated contest for positions, we want it to be a healthy one instead of being a chaotic one.”  

Political Bureau