The drawn-out drama over the fate of Durban mayor Zandile Gumede is finally over, with the governing party’s national officials confirming the decision to remove her and her executive committee from their posts.
Her replacement, public safety and transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda, his deputy, former finance MEC Belinda Scott and speaker Weziwe Thusi, will be sworn in at a full council meeting on Thursday.
Gumede, who withdrew her resignation as mayor last week — after agreeing to resign as instructed by the ANC — had accepted the party’s decision and stood down, deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte said on Tuesday.
Duarte told a media briefing in Durban that the national officials had endorsed the province’s decision to remove its council exco deployees on the grounds of poor performance.
Gumede had, after withdrawing her resignation, appealed to Luthuli House to revoke the decision by the ANC in the province, which had also removed its executive committee members in the Msunduzi local municipality.
On Monday, members of the provincial executive committee (PEC) met with the national office bearers at Luthuli House to explain their decision to recall Gumede and her colleagues.
Duarte said Gumede had been recalled over performance, and not for her arrest over the R208-million refuse removal tender case along with executive committee member Mondli Mthembu and a group of contractors and city officials.
Gumede was originally suspended by the ANC in the province over her arrest on corruption charges.
With the ANC’s decision, the former mayor will still continue to serve as a councillor, but will not return to her previous job.
Duarte said: “She has accepted the decision by the national officials and has undertaken to work in council to assist in uniting council and to assist in the unification of the ANC.”
Duarte said no disciplinary action would be taken against Gumede for challenging the province’s decision. “She gave us her reasons and we accepted them.”
Gumede had mainly acted out of “anxiety” as she had not known what her fate was going to be. Duarte said she had also expressed some concerns about the process followed to suspend her.
She said that it remained “in the best interests of the people of eThekwini” that the recall go ahead.
Before the briefing Duarte and the provincial executive committee met with the ANC’s eThekwini councillors and with Gumede.
Duarte said the councillors had also accepted the decision. They would be further briefed in clusters by the province.
ANC provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala said the party’s new provincial executive committee would be installed after the rest of its members were confirmed by the party.