Methodist church distances itself from proposed night vigil for eThekwini mayor Gumede

07 August 2019 - 07:43 By Iavan Pijoos
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede was arrested in connection with a R208m tender.
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede was arrested in connection with a R208m tender.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa on Wednesday distanced itself from a proposed night vigil for eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede.

"We are greatly disturbed by these posts and we categorically state that they were neither sanctioned by the church nor express our view on the standoff," Bishop Zipho Siwa said.

Gumede was placed on special leave in June after being charged with fraud and corruption relating to a R208m Durban Solid Waste tender awarded in 2016, in which the 62 other councillors were implicated.

On Tuesday, the provincial ANC extended Gumede's leave of absence saying the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) had received and carefully considered an update report on the court cases against a number of comrades who are allegedly in conflict with the law.

"After studying the report of the provincial working committee on matters relating to comrades who were directed to take leave of absence, the PEC decided the leave of absence must be extended to allow more time for the affected comrades and the organisation to finalise its work on the matter.

"While it has taken specific decisions on these matters and issued public pronouncements on the position of the organisation, the PEC is determined to remain considerate while steadfast in defending the values of our movement," the party said.

Bishop Siwa said the Methodist Church would not be "party to protect or cover up" any alleged illegal activities or corruption.

"We strongly condemn any acts of corruption regardless of the social, religious and political stature of the perpetrators. We acknowledge that the eThekwini mayor is one of our church members and we are aware of the sub judice nature of the investigations currently under way.

"These legal processes must be allowed to unfold and reach their natural conclusion without undue influence. Our role as a church is to accompany her pastorally, as well as her family."

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