Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. File picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA).

Durban - The campaign for former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to be re-elected as chairperson of the ANC's biggest region has kicked off ahead of the regional conference expected to be held in December. 

Gumede lost her ANC position after her regional executive structure’s term of office elapsed last year. The structure was replaced with a regional task team in June. 

Spokesperson for Gumede’s supporters, Mzomuhle Dube said almost all of 110 branches met with Gumede in Umlazi at the weekend to inform her that they intended to nominate her for the position she held since December 2015.

“We invited her as branches on Sunday to Umlazi Comtech high school to address us, we also told informed her that we see her and Musa Nciki (potential regional secretary) as people to lead us.

“She will wait for the nomination, but for now the general view is that she should be the chairperson,” said Dube.

Dube said Gumede, who is believed to be facing a challenge from the ANC Youth League's preferred candidate Thabani Nyawose for the position, expressed that she had no problem if branches want her to retain the position.

Dube described Gumede as a tried and tested ANC leader.

“She is a long-serving member, and if you remember when the eThekwini Region was formed she was there as the treasurer.

“In short, she is the most senior person in the ANC in the region,” said Dube.

He said branches were “happy” with Gumede’s ability as the chairperson. 

This was despite the fact that the ANC had, after conducting an assessment on its municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal, decided to recall her and former Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo for their poor performance.

“The branches had said that the process of removing her lacked credibility because the report used to removed her has never been made available,” Dube said.  

He said Gumede’s credibility as an ANC leader could not be damaged by fraud and corruption charges in connection with the city's solid waste tender if former economic development MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu was elected as provincial deputy chairperson during last year’s ANC provincial conference.

“We believe that she is innocent and we will continue supporting her,” said Dube. 

Mabuyakhulu was elected while facing charges of fraud and racketeering in connection with the R28 million which government had paid for the North Sea Jazz Festival- an event which never took place. 

Dube said Gumede’s supporters were now at peace with Gumede’s recall as the mayor. 

Gumede and her co-accused are expected in court next year over a R208 million waste tender corruption case.

Political Bureau