Councillor Gumede set to join race for top position

2015-05-14 16:27


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Durban - eThekwini councillor Nigel Gumede is reportedly poised to join the race for the hotly contested position of ANC regional chairperson.

At least three ANC sources told News24 on Thursday that Gumede resigned from the Provincial Executive Committee last week in order to be able to run for the number one position.

The sources also suggested that eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo might step down in order to allow Gumede to go head-to-head with fellow exco member Zandile Gumede.

Nxumalo, however, has denied this.

“He will be nominated from the floor on the day of the sitting to contest the position of chairperson,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

The eThekwini regional conference, the biggest in the country, has been fraught with controversy with the party failing to convene a successful conference on several occasions.

News24 previously reported that the conference, which was scheduled to convene for the fourth time, was adjourned indefinitely last week Saturday after disgruntled members, believed to be in Councillor Zandile Gumede's camp, disrupted proceedings.

The first two sittings were postponed while the third, which was held in February, was declared null and void in March after aggrieved members disputed the outcome.

“[Nigel] Gumede wants to stand as eThekwini regional chair, that’s why he was forced to resign. He will be nominated from the floor on the day of the conference because James is expected to step down," said a source close to Zandile Gumede.

A party insider who asked not to be named said, “Either way, James’ faction is winning in terms of votes. He doesn’t want to continue with the processes because people have turned into enemies in his name. The new strategy is to have Nigel run.

Another source said, “I don’t see any other reason why he [Nigel Gumede] would resign but to contest the position. Remember what happened to Bheki Cele? Initially they wanted him, but you can’t preside over lower structures when you are in a higher position. That is why he was asked to step back.

“The two Gumede’s don’t see eye-to-eye on service delivery. Nigel is a powerful man in eThekwini because he controls 60% of the budget in the housing department.

“The battle for eThekwini is much bigger than what people see. It’s all about controlling the largest region and R39bn of the budget. We heard that Mantashe was claimed by Nxumalo’s faction because he is an SACP man. The only reason he was forced to nullify the conference was because the complaints were procedurally and constitutionally valid."

When contacted, KZN provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala said, “Where did you get that information? I don’t discuss internal matters with the media.”

He would not be drawn on the dates mentioned by the sources for the next sitting. “We are not aware of that information,” he said.

Councillor Nigel Gumede was not immediately available for comment. He did not respond to messages.

In an sms, eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo said, “I can tell you that all of this information is not true.”

Read more on:    anc  |  durban  |  politics

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