Wrap| Zandile Gumede's supporters and backers

25 August 2020 - 11:22 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Former Ethekwini mayor Zandile Gumede replaced Ricardo Mthembu in the KZN legislature.
Former Ethekwini mayor Zandile Gumede replaced Ricardo Mthembu in the KZN legislature.
Image: Supplied

Zandile Gumede's appointment as a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature has received mixed responses from the public, the ruling party and opposition parties.

The former eThekwini mayor was appointed as an MPL last week to replace former provincial Cogta portfolio committee chairperson Ricardo Mthembu, who died in July from Covid-19 related complications.

On Sunday,  minister in the presidency Jackson Mthembu told the Sunday Times that President Cyril Ramaphosa had not responded to Gumede's appointment as he has not been in his office for a week. He said the presidency would respect the decisions made at provincial level unless there were concerns from the office.

Gumede and 17 others have been charged with corruption and fraud relating to the R430m Durban Solid Waste (DSW) tender from 2016.

Speaking on eNCA on Friday, Gumede said there was a plot by the media and opposition parties to dent her reputation. She said her recent appointment was not a reward but a continuation of her hard work.

“They know how hard I can work, there is no reward. This is just to open another door for me to continue working for the people.” She blamed the media for “discrediting” the first eThekwini female mayor.

These are some of Gumede's supporters and critics:

Backers

Duduzane Zuma

Former president Jacob Zuma's son Duduzane Zuma congratulated Gumede on her new position in a video shared on social media at the weekend. He said the public must respect the “innocent until proven guilty” principle as Gumede “has not had her day in court”.

She will appear before the Durban commercial crimes court in September.

He said leaders who are disregarding the principle by slamming her, are flip-flopping and should be ashamed of themselves. “Keep working hard, keep pushing the envelope. I support you for sure and I'm not the only one that does so. All the best to you,” he said.

ANC in KZN

Spokesperson for the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the party expected criticism of Gumede's redeployment because of the allegations against her.

He said the province supports her on the basis of women empowerment and that she has not been found guilty by a court of law. “The ANC is a firm believer in women empowerment and is confident that Gumede's experience is a worthwhile addition to the legislature,” he said.

Public reaction 

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CRITICS

EFF in KZN

The EFF noted with “disgust” the appointment of Gumede as an MPL, saying it proved the ANC's lack of morals and ethics and that it values thuggery and theft.

“It is not surprising that the ANC has elevated Gumede from PR councillor status to being an MPL while still embroiled in corruption allegations of squandering more than a quarter of a billion,” said the party.

DA in KZN

The DA also released a statement saying Gumede's appointment showed she “has protection in high places” and that it was a slap in the face.

“Why else would she earn a promotion back to the legislature when her absolute disgraceful behaviour is so clear for all to see?” questioned the DA.

John Steenhuisen

The DA interim leader said Gumede's appointment contradicts the contents of Ramaphosa's letter about corruption. The president penned a seven-page letter to ANC members on Sunday, saying the party must distance itself from corruption-accused members.

Herman Mashaba

Former Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said South Africans need to remove the ANC from its position of power and “cadre deployment”. 

Public reaction 

Scores took to social media to condemn the ANC for “recycling” the embattled former mayor.


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