eThekweni mayor Zandile Gumede fired: everything you need to know

14 August 2019 - 13:25 By Unathi Nkanjeni

Embattled eThekweni mayor Zandile Gumede has officially been fired.

The KZN branch of the ANC confirmed that Gumede had been "redeployed" following the special provincial executive committee meeting which ended on Monday.

Here is what you need to know:

The history

In May last year, it emerged that Gumede, a strong ally of former president Jacob Zuma, was being investigated by the Hawks for allegedly facilitating money laundering‚ fraud and corruption, allegedly to pay back cronies who helped pave the way to realise her political ambitions.

An investigation found that Gumede was allegedly illegally involved in a R25m tender for a sanitation company, which was asked to provide the city with 800 chemical toilets for six months.

Court appearance

In May this year, Gumede appeared in the Durban commercial crimes court after she handed herself over to the Hawks.

Gumede appeared at the Durban specialised commercial court as part of the Hawks’ national clean-audit task team (NCATT) investigation at the municipality.

Hawks spokesperson Brig Hangwani Mulaudzi said Gumede would face the same charges as the other nine suspects who were arrested on allegations of fraud and corruption in relation to a 2016 R208m Durban Solid Waste tender, where service providers were allegedly paid huge amounts even though they did not render any service.

Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail.

30-day leave

After her court appearance, TimesLIVE reported that Gumede would be taking a 30-day leave of absence while the party investigated claims against her.

Leave of absence

In June, it was confirmed that Gumede was temporarily stepping down from her mayoral position.

The decision was taken by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial leadership following her appearance in court on corruption charges.

Gumede's matter involved claims of criminality, outright patronage and denials of wrongdoing.

Decision pending

In the face of mounting pressure on whether Gumede would return to work, the ANC remained mum, insisting that investigations were still under way.

However, she continued to earn R115,000 a month while the ANC in KZN "deliberated".

Axing

On Tuesday, the ANC in KZN officially fired Gumede and other top officials at the municipality, citing their failure to manage the city's affairs.

The party said the decision to fire Gumede as eThekwini mayor would strengthen the party and not divide it, as some had suggested.

The party’s provincial secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli, said the decision to axe the mayor was taken in favour of eThekwini residents.

Bathabile Dlamini weighs in

ANC Women's League president Bathabile Dlamini weighed in on the matter, saying the league wanted answers about Gumede's axing, and that she was not happy about how easy it was to remove women leaders from office.

She said the Women's League was planning to meet the party's provincial leadership over its decision to fire Gumede.

"We are very unhappy about this culture that has been going on, a culture of making it easy to remove women from the positions they occupy," Dlamini said.


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