File photo: African News Agency (ANA) Archives.

Durban - Opposition parties in KwaZulu-Natal on Monday night welcomed the removal of embattled eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. 

This after reports emerged that Gumede, along with Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo and his deputy Thobani Zuma, had been axed following a special meeting held by the ANC KZN's Provincial Executive Committee (PEC). 

The party's provincial structure on Monday night would not confirm if any mayors, including Gumede, had been axed but sources confirmed that wholesale change had been made at two of the biggest municipalities in the province - eThekwini and Msunduzi, the latter the capital of the province. 

The EFF said while it welcomed the ANC's decision to axe Gumede, it was waiting for action to be taken against 62 councillors who are also alleged to have engaged in corrupt activities in the city.

EFF KZN chairperson Vusi Khoza said they believed the arrest of the 62 councillors "is imminent".

"Finally, the ANC has come to its senses and they did the right thing," said Khoza.

He said the mayor of Newcastle Ntuthuko Mahlaba should also be axed. Mahlaba was arrested in connection with the 2017 murder of former ANC Youth League official Wandile Ngobeni.

"Now that the party has axed Gumede we want to see her pursued criminally and justice must prevail," Khoza said, adding that eThekwini should be placed under administration and elections held to give the city a fresh start.

The DA in eThekwini said while it welcomed the reports that the ANC have resolved to fire Gumede, this was only the first step. 

Councillor Nicole Graham, the DA eThekwini Caucus Leader said: "Gumede's firing is a direct result of pressure from opposition parties, the media and the people who live in this city. They have seen the effects of the chaos that Zandile Gumede has unleashed on eThekwini first-hand, and stood up to say no more.

"Gumede's axing, however, is only the first step. The investigative report that led to her arrest explains just how Gumede had interfered with key line departments and appointments to capture the municipality. She has interfered with procurement processes and made sure that those close to her have benefited."

Graham said Gumede had allegedly been aided and abetted by municipal officials, fellow councillors and the ANC leadership in KZN. "If good governance is to be restored, all of those who have worked with her need to go too.

"The names of the 62 Councillors who were mentioned in court as having worked with Gumede to implement her corrupt schemes have still not been released. This means that almost a third of eThekwini's 219 councillors were involved in and have benefitted from Gumede's actions. The ANC and the Council must urgently resolve to act against these Councillors and fire them too."

Political Bureau