Embattled former eThekwini regional chairperson Zandile Gumede is pinning her hopes on the ANC’s top six taking her side when they meet the KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC) tomorrow over its decision to recall her.
In yet another eventful week for the province, Gumede stunned ANC structures when she announced that she had made a U-turn on her resignation and had decided – after legal and political advice – to withdraw her resignation.
Despite a brief one paragraph statement from the PEC acknowledging the withdrawal, provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli told City Press yesterday that the structure did not recognise the withdrawal.
“We as the PEC accepted comrade Zandile’s resignation. We reject the withdrawal.
“When the council sits, the ANC position will be to present the resignation and the ANC councillors will have a mandate to endorse the resignation and declare a vacancy which will be filled immediately,” Ntuli said.
“There is no motion of confidence that will be necessary because there is a letter of resignation so there is no mayor to remove because there is no mayor; the mayor resigned. The withdrawal does not exist,” he said.
The provincial secretary insisted that there were no plans yet to discipline Gumede for her defiance, saying that they would continue to choose to engage with her.
“We just want to engage with her first and make sure she understands the implications of what she is doing.”
The KwaZulu-Natal provincial working committee will meet tomorrow to discuss the meeting with the officials and the way forward should it be necessary to take further action.
Gumede had knocked on the door of Luthuli House two weeks ago asking for an audience with the officials, which she was granted.
Read: Why Zandile Gumede was finally removed from office
City Press understands that part of her presentation to the top six was her belief that the PEC wanted to get rid of her by any means necessary. Gumede has allegedly argued that she was essentially “exonerated”, by two reports which were tabled at the national executive committee (NEC).
In July NEC member Zweli Mkhize presented a report back to the NEC on a number of troubled municipalities governed by the ANC. Gumede insists that, if she was the source of the ANC’s woes in eThekwini, Mkhize would have made the recommendation then that she be given the boot.
Weeks later NEC member Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – who is also the minister of cooperative governance and traditional affairs – met structures in eThekwini. Gumede is said to have pointed out that Dlamini-Zuma did not recommend that she be axed.
Following the relaxation of Gumede’s bail conditions, the court gave her the green light to return to the city, a move she believed foiled the plans to get rid of her using her legal challengesas the trigger.
Gumede, with other city officials, was arrested earlier this year on charges of money laundering, racketeering and corruption. She is out on R50 000 bail with her case set to resume in January 2020.
In the end it was a report by a task team headed by John Jeffery and Nhlanhla Ngidi which sealed her fate. City Press had reported that Gumede and her supporters had cried foul that Ngidi was conflicted, claiming that he had ambitions for the city’s top job.
This week Ngidi confirmed in a media interview that he had been approached to serve as deputy mayor after being lobbied to serve as mayor.
Ntuli said tomorrow’s meeting in the main would likely be about Gumede’s concerns about the process leading up to her removal.
“The reason we have a meeting is because comrade Zandile went there and raised her concerns, so I suspect the meeting may be centred on Zandile’s concerns other than the process,” he said.
“We will be reporting why we have chosen [Mxolisi] Kaunda, why we believe he is the appropriate candidate. We will explain that we had extensive discussions and looked at a number of options; if they want a rundown of who the options were we can provide that as well. But the likelihood is that they will be interested in the choice we made rather than what we discussed.”