Our decision will be final, says Ace Magashule about 'complex' Durban mayor matter

02 September 2019 - 15:04 By ZINGISA MVUMVU
The ANC's top six will decide on the future of eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, who last week withdrew her resignation.
The ANC's top six will decide on the future of eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede, who last week withdrew her resignation.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule confirmed on Monday that the party's top brass will on Tuesday decide the fate of embattled eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede - and that their decision on the matter would be final.

Speaking at a press conference at Luthuli House on Monday evening, Magashule said the party had held meetings with both Gumede and the ANC KwaZulu-Natal leadership. The KZN leadership had requested that the mayor resign.

Gumede last week tendered her resignation, but just days later did an about turn and called a meeting with party bosses. That resulted in a last-minute cancellation of the council meeting where her replacement was due to be inducted as a councillor and then voted in as mayor.

Magashule said on Monday that the Gumede matter was receiving the "necessary attention".

"We hope this matter... will be finalised tomorrow [Tuesday] amicably by all parties. Comrade Zandile and the leadership of KZN have said that whatever decision the ANC headquarters takes, they will all abide by that decision

"We will take a decision that's in the interests of the ANC," he said.

Magashule later said that a press conference would be called on Tuesday afternoon to announce the decision.

"We can turn down a decision of any lower structure, if we feel there are reasons to do so. Be patient. Tomorrow, around 2pm, there will be a press conference, and we'll make the announcement," he said.

Earlier on Monday, ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said he expected a decision on Tuesday. According to Ntuli, the party's KwaZulu-Natal leadership made a presentation to national officials about their decision to recall Gumede.

Ntuli said: "The PEC came here to present on the work it has done, which is consistent with the culture and tradition of the movement. We must always touch base with our national leadership to keep them informed.

"They [top six] will reflect on the presentation and then articulate the way forward.

"When the leadership concludes their meeting today, I am certain that tomorrow they will come back to us and say, 'This is how, practically, you must deal with the issues you reported to us'."

Ntuli said the decision on Gumede's future would be final. It would be taken to the ANC national working committee (NWC) and, ultimately, the national executive committee (NEC) "for purposes of reporting".

"But the top leadership of the ANC has a mandate on behalf of the NWC and the NEC to make certain decisions, and I think this is one of the instances where they will make a decision in terms of how to navigate the complex environment in KwaZulu-Natal and help the ANC to move forward," said Ntuli.

Asked about the eThekwini council meeting scheduled for Thursday to confirm Mxolisi Kaunda as Gumede's replacement, Ntuli said this would go ahead with the top six offering guidance about how that meeting should be handled.