Zandile Gumede’s legislature post was not a promotion: ANC

28 August 2020 - 17:05 By Zimasa Matiwane
Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede
Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday stopped short of saying Zandile Gumede’s leadership capacity was inadequate to run a metro like eThekwini, hence her redeployment to the legislature, which is less “complex”.

Provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said the redeployment, which Gumede has now been asked to step aside from pending an integrity commission investigation, was not a promotion.

“There is an understanding in society that needs to be corrected which suggests that the role of being an MPL or MP is much more complex than being in council. That narrative reduces local government to just being a dumping zone.

“While the reality is, it is more complex to run the local government sphere of government than the provincial one. In local government you don't have a clear, discernible distinction between the executive and lawmakers, the system there is more complex,” Ntuli said.

The ANC removed Gumede and her executive committee from what was the only major metro governed by the ANC in the country at the time.

The decision came after the party carried out an assessment into the state of the province’s municipalities emanating from concerns raised before the May 8 general elections.

Provincial chair Sihle Zikalala on Friday said administratively and politically there were “challenges” at eThekwini, which led to the decision that the executive committee step down.

“We said the collective was not providing the envisaged leadership. We further said even administratively there is a decline. It doesn't mean that because comrades were recalled they can't be deployed somewhere else. They must however make sure that if the ANC deploys them again they will make a contribution as expected,” Zikalala explained.

The party announced after a special provincial executive committee meeting that Gumede was asked to step aside from her job at the legislature after a national outcry over her new job. Gumede is out on R50,000 bail, facing charges ranging from money laundering to corruption and racketeering.

Her fate now lies in the provincial integrity commission, which will decide if she can remain in public office. In the meantime she will continue to draw a salary from the legislature.

The party spoke publicly for the first time since Gumede was sworn in as a member of the legislature and revealed that the decision was taken last year, with the blessing of national ANC officials.