Axed Durban mayor, Zandile Gumede
Axed Durban mayor, Zandile Gumede

Zandile Gumede pins hopes of saving mayoral job on ANC top six

By Bongani hans Time of article published Aug 31, 2019

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Zandile Gumede is pinning her hopes of saving her job on the ANC top six, who will meet the KwaZulu-Natal structure to discuss her fate on Monday.

Gumede supporters’ spokesperson Mzomuhle Dube said the meeting would provide answers.

The provincial executive committee (PEC) has insisted that the swearing-in of her replacement, Transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda, would go ahead as planned next week.

Dube said prior to the withdrawal of her resignation on Wednesday, Gumede went to Luthuli House to present her case against the PEC’s decision. Dube said Gumede believed that only the national executive committee, and not the PEC, had powers to appoint and recall metro mayors.

“The ANC constitution tells you that it is the NEC (national executive committee) that can recall a (metro mayoral) deployee. She has been advised that if she does not challenge these people, she would be counted as being one of their victims,” said Dube.

It has also been reported that her lawyers advised her to withdraw the resignation while waiting for the NEC to take a final decision on her case.

“The provincial leadership will on Monday appear before the national top six to discuss the matter. I don’t know whether or not Mama would also be present at that meeting.

“But Mama had already gone there to present her side of the story to the top six,” said Dube.

ANC provincial spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu confirmed that the ANC leadership would meet to deal with Gumede’s appeal.

Gumede was last week fired from her position together with former deputy Fawzia Peer, the city’s former speaker William Mapena and former chief whip Neli Nyanisa. The ANC instructed them to formally resign from their positions and Gumede tendered her resignation on Monday, but withdrew it two days later.

Mthembu said Gumede was accountable to the PEC, not the NEC.

When asked who had a mandate to appoint metro mayors, Mthembu said: “It is the PEC in consultation with the NEC.

“So the NEC was consulted as usual,” he said.

Mthembu said Gumede’s appeal, which would be discussed on Monday, did not mean that “the decision of the PEC changes”.

Repeated attempts to obtain comment from Gumede were unsuccessful.

ANC national spokesperson Pule Mabe, who did not answer his phone on Friday, this week told SAFM radio that the PEC was within its rights to recall Gumede.

Mabe said Gumede had demonstrated an act of defiance by withdrawing her resignation.

“Once the provincial executive committee had taken a decision to withdraw its deployees from performing certain responsibilities, at that point the decision is understood to have been taken,” Mabe said.

He said Gumede had undermined the authority of the PEC, which he said had powers and authority to make decisions “given the situation that presents itself before them”.

However, an official for the South African Local Government Association, who declined to be named, said it was known that within the ANC, premiers and metro mayors are deployed by the NEC after recommendations by the PEC.

“The ANC NEC takes a decision of who does it deploy as metro mayors and premiers. In the issue of KZN I don’t know how the issue was left to the PEC as opposed to the NEC,” the official said.

Political analyst Xolani Dube said in order to avoid confusion, Gumede should have been at least subjected to a vote of no confidence by the full council instead of being recalled by the ANC “as that causes confusion”.

“The only people who have a right to recall her are the councillors through the vote of no confidence since once Mama Zandile is voted by the full council she is no longer the ANC mayor but a mayor for everyone.

“The ANC is blurring the line between the party politics and government, which is why Zandile is defying the ANC instruction,” said Dube.

Politics Bureau

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