'eThekwini mayoral post doesn't belong to Gumede, but to the ANC'

Youth league says Zandile is not being taken away from her positions as it was not hers to begin with

eThekwini mayoral post doesn't belong to Gumede, but to the ANC - youth league

10 June 2019

The ANC Youth League (ANCYL) in the eThekwini region said the position of mayor did not belong to any specific person, including embattled Zandile Gumede.

Rather, it belonged to the governing party in the metro - the ANC - the youth league's regional spokesperson, Thulisa Ndlela, said on Monday.

"When you are a mayor or a premier, you occupy public office for the ANC. That privilege may be taken away from you. Zandile is not being taken away from her position. It is not hers to begin with. It never was. It does not belong to any one person, it belongs to the ANC."

The provincial executive committee (PEC) asked Gumede to vacate office and resolved to disband the regional executive committee and replace it with a task team. She is out on R50 000 bail after she was arrested for corruption relating to a R230m waste removal tender.

Ndlela said the ANCYL had not yet met the PEC to establish details of the move.

Ndlela pointed out that the province had taken a decision earlier this year for ANC members to step aside from public office during matters of distress.

"That stepping aside is what Mike Mabuyakhulu did. At this stage we don't know if this is leave or what will happen when the so-called leave ends."

Mabuyakhulu is one of 16 people accused of defrauding the KZN government of about R28m by paying for the Netherlands-based North Sea Jazz Festival. He removed himself from the provincial party list earlier this year.

"When you are a mayor or a premier, you occupy public office at the behest of the ANC and that privilege make be taken away from you," Ndlela added.

He said suspending someone only to have them occupy their previous position in office was wrong.

"Again, Mike Mabuyakhulu just removed himself. If today he wins his case, he cannot demand to be number two on the ANC provincial list. Those are collective ANC decisions."

Gumede will still be earning public money

eThekwini DA caucus leader Nicole Graham said they were disappointed at the outcome of the ANC's decision because Gumede would still earn public funds.

"Gumede will sit at home for 30 days and earn her monthly salary of R112 000 (based on a yearly package of R1.35m). All that will happen is that she will submit leave, continue to rake in taxpayers' money and leave Durban in the lurch."

She said the decision was "an obvious indicator that the ANC put their politics first, and the well-being of eThekwini Municipality a distant second".

"Gumede has been a hopeless mayor and should be booted from office. This call by the DA has been supported by members of the public and fellow opposition parties."

Graham said the DA had also written to the Hawks regarding Gumede's bail conditions and that of co-accused Mondli Mthembu.

"We believe they may be violating by their continued involvement in city governance."

Meanwhile, eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Masiyela said there has been no formal communication to officials about what will happen next at the municipality.

"We are still following our constitutional mandate. The municipality is functioning as usual. We must allow these political processes to reach finality."