Picture: Phill Magakoe/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - The disciplinary committee of the ANC in KZN has slapped 10 prominent supporters of former eThekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede, with light sentences for bringing the party into disrepute and undermining the authority of the party. 

The committee sat on Sunday and after a marathon hearing, it decided to slap eight of them with a two years suspension. However, the sentence was suspended for two years on the condition that they are not found guilty of similar offences for two years. 

Among the most prominent of those who were sanctioned is Nkosenhle Madlala, a long-time right-hand man of Gumede, Bongani Qhansi, a councillor from ward 53 in Inanda where Gumede hails from and Mbongiseni Hlongwa, a branch chairperson who was the first to show support to Gumede when the Hawks and the Asset Forfeiture Unit pounced on her properties on Thursday last week. 

Similar sentences were handed to four Moses Mabhida region ANC party councillors. They include Sithembiso Nkuna and Melcor Dlamini. The four councillors led a protest march to the party’s regional offices in Pietermaritzburg calling for the ANC in KZN to convene the mothballed Moses Mabhida regional conference. 

The harshest punishment was meted on two prominent councillors, Mxolisi Mdzimbovu and Mbuyiseni Mkhize, who were given sentences of three years. Similarly though, the sentences were suspended for five years on condition that they are not found guilty of the same offences for five years. Mzimbomvu is accused of being a mastermind in organising support for Gumede. 

According to sources, the members would further issue a public apology regarding their behaviour and the statement would be circulated to the media. 

According to insiders, the chairperson of the DC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu and Solomon Mkhombo were calling for harsher sentences but the prosecution comprising of Ravi Pillay (who is also finance MEC in the province) and Advocate Makhosini Nkosi (former mayor of Newcastle) pushed for lighter sentences in order not to be seen as taking sides in the ongoing factional battles in the region. 

The region is expected to hold a crucial elective conference before the years' end and the contenders are Gumede and Thabani Nyawose who both want to chair the region.

The spokesperson of the party in the province, Ricardo Mthembu, said he was still going to check with the chairperson of the DC about the outcomes. However, he confirmed that the hearings were concluded on Sunday. 

Political Bureau