Embattled Durban mayor continues to earn R115k per month while ANC in KZN 'deliberates'

11 August 2019 - 18:27 By Orrin Singh
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, who was arrested in connection with a R208m tender.
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, who was arrested in connection with a R208m tender.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

ANC leaders in KwaZulu-Natal will have to deliberate on whether embattled eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede should be redeployed, a spokesperson said on Sunday.

This decision was pending an assessment of the state of the municipality, ANC provincial spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu told reporters ahead of an ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting. 

Gumede, out on R50,000 bail, is facing charges of racketeering, corruption and money laundering related to an allegedly dodgy R208m Durban Solid Waste tender, awarded in 2016. 

The mayor has been accused of using her political position to influence the contract.

Mthembu said the PEC would focus its attention on the functioning of municipalities and how the party could intervene in certain cases. 

"It might be that we need to change some of the deployment, rearrange it in order for it to be able to have functioning municipalities. It would depend on the assessment, so eThekwini is not excluded from that assessment."

He said the party was confident all the issues would be resolved on Sunday.

"If there are issues that are not finalised, then of course the ANC will deal with those processes. But I think we are ready to finalise any issue before us."

Since Gumede's removal from office in June, her supporters have staged numerous protests, often resulting in Durban's city centre being cast into a state of chaos.

On Thursday, Gumede and eight of her co-accused, which includes eThekwini Deputy speaker Mondli Mthembu, appeared in the Durban Commercial Crimes Court. 

The court heard the state needed four more months to complete its investigations, and that more arrests were imminent. 

On Monday, ANC KZN secretary-general Mdumiseni Ntuli said the party had resolved to once again extend Gumede's leave of suspension to allow the investigating team to include her response in its final report.

The PEC's decision also applied to Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba, who is out on R20,000 bail after being arrested for the 2016 murder of ANC Youth League eMalahleni regional deputy chair Wandile Ngubeni in Newcastle.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance has sought legal opinion and is expected to table a motion to remove Gumede from the powerful, decision-making executive committee (exco).

The DA's caucus leader Nicole Graham said the ANC was taking too long to come to a decision regarding the mayor. 

Graham's frustration was fuelled by the fact that Gumede had been earning R115,000 a month while on special leave.

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