Gumede's special leave extension could end in a war - party insiders

2019-07-11 06:08
eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede. (Gallo Images)

eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede. (Gallo Images)

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The fall-out from a decision by the ANC to extend eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede's special leave could spell "war" in the province, two sources told News24.

The ANC on Wednesday said it had not yet made a formal decision on the future of the embattled mayor, despite the conditions of her 30-day "special leave" ending on Tuesday.

Gumede, known as a staunch supporter of former president Jacob Zuma and a heavyweight in KZN politics, was placed on special leave last month after being arrested and charged with corruption relating to a waste removal tender worth over R200m.

READ: Zandile Gumede remains on special leave, no decision on her fate yet - ANC

ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli on Wednesday said Gumede's special leave would be extended and the status quo would remain while the party continues to work on a resolution - reached closer to the end of July.

Two sources told News24 the fall out could set the party back to violent times.

'Beast unleashed'

A party insider in KwaZulu-Natal said it was unlikely that Gumede would be reinstated, which meant her army of loyal supporters would mobilise to fight by "any means necessary".

"We are dealing with a women whose supporters have already clashed with the police. Not only that but many comrades have a lot to lose if she is not reinstated. The PEC knows it has to handle this issue delicately. That is why Luthuli House has also been involved. There is wide spread concern over this matter."

Another party insider said Gumede was a formidable opponent and should not be underestimated.

"She will fight hard to make sure she stays in power and equally, her soldiers will be willing to fight and we know this. The onus is on the ANC to manage the beast it has unleashed. There will be a war,"  the insider told News24.

Ntuli though said the party expects Gumede to heed instruction.

"We expect the comrades affected to remain on leave [and] to wait for the organisation to complete a process they are familiar with in the way of their participation into the same process."

Gumede's spokesperson Mthunzi Gumede - no relation - would not comment on the matter.

Out on bail, protests

ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli previously said she was placed on leave so that the ANC could delve into the criminal charges against her.

Gumede is out on R50 000 bail after being arrested for fraud and corruption relating to a R208m waste removal tender.

During her month-long leave, the ANC team investigated a number of matters related to Gumede, including the bail conditions and what the impact would be on operations in the eThekwini Metro should she return.

Since her exit from office, Gumede's supporters have marched on ANC's headquarters in the province on three separate occasions.

During a June march, they clashed with the police after they demanded that her "suspension" be lifted, as well as the disbandment of the regional task team.

Gumede said at the time that she fully expects to come back as mayor once her special leave ends.

Last week, Acting Mayor Fawzia Peer was the reported target of an alleged "poisoning" in council after Speaker William Lekgoa Mapena announced that there was paraffin in one of the water bottles handed out during the meeting.

The water had been sent for testing. Peer told News24 on Wednesday that the Speaker's office was handling the matter and the test results were not yet available.

Read more on:    anc  |  zandile gumede  |  duran  |  corruption  |  politics

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