File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives.

Durban - Despite the fact that the ANC in KZN was eventually able to force former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede, out of power after days of her digging her heels in, the two largest opposition parties in the eThekwini municipality said it took the ruling party too long to act. 

Gumede and the entire executive council (exco) members from the ruling party resigned on Monday evening after being given a deadline by the party’s provincial secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli over the weekend. 

Reacting to the resignation on Tuesday, Nicole Graham, the caucus leader of the DA in the council, said Gumede’s term was nothing but bad news for Durban residents, and it’s a relief that it’s finally over.

“However, it took the ANC far too long and the damage done to the municipality has been far too great. It’s clear that the ANC acted when the pressure was too great to do anything else, and not out of the genuine need to see Gumede gone. Gumede was on paid leave as instructed by the ANC for three months, and continued to earn her R115 000 monthly salary,” Graham said. 

Graham added that their focus now turns to the 62 ANC councillors named in the court case as having worked with Gumede. 

“These councillors must be properly investigated, charged and held to account for what they have allegedly done. It’s untenable that almost a third of the Council has been involved in tender fraud,” she said.

The councillors are those who are allegedly involved in the 2017 R208 million city waste tender that got Gumede, and councillor Mondli Mthembu into legal troubles. 

Mdu Nkosi, a councillor of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) who sits in the exco, said while as a party they are happy to see the back of Gumede and her ANC exco team, they are not happy that the ANC took so long to act. He said the people of eThekwini had suffered as a result of the inaction.

“As I am speaking to you there should be an exco meeting taking place, but that is not the case. This means there are decisions that should be tabled before the council but they are not taken. We are also not sure when the council does convenes, if it will not experience challenges,” Nkosi said.

He added that they found it unfortunate that the ANC is more worried with its internal fights than the citizens of the city. 

“If there are candidates from the opposition rising to take on ANC’s candidates we have to support them because the ANC has shown us that they don’t care. They have failed the people of eThekwini and the entire province because this is the biggest municipality in KwaZulu-Natal.”

The new leadership of the council is expected to be elected during a full councill sitting on Thursday and Nkosi said to voice their dissatisfaction with how the ANC has run the city, they will support any candidate the opposition will pick to rival the ANC’s ones. 

Mxolisi Kaunda has been named by the ANC as its mayoral candidate, and his deputy will be Belinda Scott and the speaker will be Weziwe Thusi.

Political Bureau