Zandile Gumede and Mike Mabuyakhulu told to step aside
The two, both facing charges of corruption, have been asked to appear before the ANC's provincial integrity commission
The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has asked that former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede and deputy provincial chair Mike Mabuyakhulu step aside from their legislature and organisational responsibilities pending their appearance before the provincial integrity committee.
The ANC in the province finally bowed to pressure after an outcry within and outside the party after the appointment of Gumede as a member of the provincial legislature.
Provincial chair Sihle Zikalala told reporters on Friday that the party was not backtracking on Gumede when they appointed her to the legislature after removing her as mayor. He said they were merely enforcing a decision to deploy Gumede to the legislature that was taken last year.
The decision backfired spectacularly.
“Politically there was a decision taken, which national officials knew about, and it was implemented. Society reacted and the ANC listened. We are therefore going though self-introspection and are taking this matter to the integrity commission,” said Zikalala.
“The decision was that they should be redeployed. We could not implement that decision because the provincial list was closed. We consulted national leaders when implementing this decision for them to understand we are acting in the best interests of the people,” said provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli.
Gumede will continue drawing a salary in the legislature.
Zikalala said the integrity commission will fast-track its investigations, and he anticipated a finding will be reached in a month.
The decisions about Gumede and Mabuyakhulu were taken at a provincial executive committee (PEC) on Friday morning. Mabuyakhulu was asked to step aside because he is one of 16 suspects in a case related to the theft of about R28m from provincial coffers.
It is alleged that during his tenure as MEC of economic development in KwaZulu-Natal‚ Mabuyakhulu had directed millions into the accounts of his seven co-accused and nine other companies and businessmen for which he allegedly received kickbacks. Mabuyakhulu and Durban businessman Mabheleni Ntuli were cited among the five main role players in a fraud‚ corruption and money laundering case relating to a failed jazz festival five years ago that cost taxpayers R28m.
Zikalala and Ntuli are expected to explain the PEC decisions to the special ANC national executive committee meeting which starts Friday afternoon and ends on Sunday.