Zandile Gumede vs Thabani Nyawose: Who will lead eThekwini?

Thabani Nyawose

Thabani Nyawose, the speaker of the eThekwini metropolitan municipality, is contesting the ANC regional chairperson position for the first time. 

A former running mate of the former chairperson, James Nxumalo — whose re-election as eThekwini chairperson was set aside by the then-ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, in 2015 — Nyawose heads the Renewal Rebuilding Unity faction that is backing party president Cyril Ramaphosa for a second term.

Nyawose, 46, is a former head of the city’s hostels division and a long-term ANC and United Democratic Front activist who first served as a councillor under the Durban South Central council from 1996.

He  is a former resident of Izingolweni on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, where he first became involved in political activism.

Nyawose’s family was among those targeted by Inkatha in the notorious Shobashobane Massacre on Christmas Day in 1995. He himself survived several attacks, including being shot and wounded during the political violence that lasted in the province until the late 1990s.

His work in the city’s hostels, where he helped relaunch the ANC after it was unbanned by the apartheid government, has built him a strong support base. Nyawose has also been nominated by branches in the south of Durban and in its western townships.

Zandile Gumede, also called Mama, is the current ANC eThekwini chairperson. (Photo by Gallo Images/Darren Stewart)

Zandile Gumede

Zandile Gumede, also called Mama, is the current ANC eThekwini chairperson.

Gumede, 60,  who comes from Amaoti in Inanda, northwest of Durban, was recalled by the ANC, along with her regional executive committee, in 2019 because of the collapse of city services, shortly after she was first arrested for corruption.

Gumede was elected as regional chairperson in 2015 after a series of failed attempts to hold the regional conference and after a sitting that elected Nxumalo was set aside.

She became mayor in 2016 and has established herself as one of the leading figures in the radical economic transformation faction of the ANC in the city and the province.

Gumede is a former community development worker who served two terms as a ANC proportional representation councillor before being elected as ward councillor for Amaoti in 2016.

She served as the ANC regional treasurer from 2007 before being elected as chairperson in 2015.

Gumede is currently a member of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, to which she was sent after being recalled as mayor.

She enjoys significant support in the north of the city, along with wards in Umlazi and Lamontville in the south of Durban. 

Gumede has historically enjoyed the support of the ANC’s youth and women’s leagues in the city and has the backing of the uMkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association and the business forums operating in the city.

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Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

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