/ 16 September 2020

Zandile Gumede and her supporters face ANC backlash

Case: Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede was not home when assets apparently linked to fraud were seized.
Former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. (Wikus De Wet/AFP)

The ANC will take action against the supporters of ANC MPL Zandile Gumede, accused of corruption when she was the mayor of eThekwini, who defied the party and protested at the Durban magistrate’s court last week.

The party’s leaders also plan to “engage” Gumede about her failure to call her supporters to order when she addressed them outside the court after her appearance on charges related to a R400-million waste removal tender.

Gumede is the most senior of five ANC eThekwini councillors who were arrested over the tender. She is out on bail of R50 000 and will appear again along with her co-accused on December 10.

All ANC members charged with crimes have been asked to stand aside from their party and government posts pending a hearing with the party’s integrity commission, in line with a decision by the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC). Party members have also been told to distance themselves from their comrades with “legal difficulties”. Those who are facing accusations — but no charges — of corruption and other forms of misconduct will also have to appear before the integrity commission.

On Tuesday, ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli told a media briefing in Durban that thus far the party’s regional structures had identified 10 or 11 leaders, mainly councillors, facing criminal charges.

But this list was incomplete and a final list will be submitted to the ANC’s integrity commission, which had already met to look at new NEC guidelines for how it operates.

The commission will hear all cases by the middle of October and will recommend what action to take against each of them. In the meantime, they were to stand aside from their jobs and not carry out any party or government task, Ntuli said.

Ntuli said the ANC leaders were “‘very disappointed” by the actions of Gumede and her supporters, in defiance of the party, the Nec’s decision and the resolutions of the 2017 national conference.

They had not only attended the court hearing without the permission of the ANC but “went further and carried placards which were extremely offensive and divisive”, Ntuli said.

Gumede had failed to “disown” their actions when she addressed them.

“We have to engage her on that. We cannot allow a situation where people have a licence to undermine the authority of the ANC and go further and act in a way that attempts to sow divisions in the ANC,” he said.

Ntuli said the ANC would only make the list of those charged available when it had been finalised and after each person on it had been contacted by the party and given an explanation of “what is expected of them”.

Mike Mabuyakhulu, the deputy chairperson of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal who is out on bail over a R28-million jazz festival in 2012 that was paid for by his department but which never took place, will be the first to appear before the integrity commission.

Ntuli said those identified for expulsion by the commission would have to leave the party or be expelled.