KZN ANC resolves to axe top municipal leaders in Msunduzi, as well as eThekwini

2019-08-13 12:22
Zandile Gumede. (Jabulani Langa, Gallo Images, Daily Sun, file)

Zandile Gumede. (Jabulani Langa, Gallo Images, Daily Sun, file)

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The ANC's KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC) has resolved to axe the top leadership of its two major municipalities of Msunduzi and eThekwini, relieving both Themba Njilo and Zandile Gumede of their duties, The Witness reports.

According to sources within the PEC, Njilo was axed alongside his deputy Thobani Zuma and Msunduzi Municipality Speaker Jabu Ngubo.

"The PEC was of the view that the two municipalities had, under the two mayors, not been able to deliver services at the level which meets voter expectations," a PEC member told the publication.

Gumede found herself at odds with ANC provincial leaders following her arrest for fraud and corruption in connection with the R200m eThekwini Solid Waste tender.

The PEC, which two months ago placed Gumede on special leave, had been widely expected to use the criminal charges as grounds to axe her.

However, the source told The Witness that both Gumede and Njilo were axed for the poor performance of their respective municipalities.

"While the issue of the criminal charges was discussed during the PEC meeting, it was about the eThekwini municipality's failure to deliver," the source said.

The axing of the leadership of the two municipalities came after a task team report presented to the PEC had highlighted a number of challenges in the local governments.

In Msunduzi, the task team cited divisions within the municipality’s political leadership as a major factor in the local government’s poor performance.

Emergency meeting

The leadership, the task team found, had been working against each other, with one faction supporting former president Jacob Zuma and another backing  President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The Witness previously reported how infighting within the ANC caucus had resulted in the collapse of meetings due to a failure to meet quorums.

As the PEC was busy deliberating the Msunduzi leadership’s future, The Witness understands that ANC councillors in Msunduzi were called to an emergency meeting.

However, ANC councillors who rushed to the caucus meeting, expecting to be briefed about the leadership changes, said they were disappointed that nothing had been forthcoming from the municipality’s top leadership.

"They were talking about municipal issues in general and carried on as if it’s business as usual. The fact of the matter is that most of us are concerned about the future and it would have helped if caucus leadership had shed some light on the rumours flying around," an ANC councillor said.

Issues that were also being finalised in Monday night’s meeting included the future of the leadership of other ANC-led municipalities, including Newcastle, whose mayor, Ntuthuko Mahlaba, is currently facing murder charges.

'They are being purged'

Earlier, sources within the PEC indicated that ANC members serving in Msunduzi’s executive council would also be removed.

eNCA reported on Tuesday that the excecutive council was indeed asked to step down.

While the ANC provincial leadership had claimed that the decision to bring about changes to ruling party municipalities was meant to boost the performance of the local governments, ANC members unhappy about the removal of their leaders were planning to mount a campaign against the current PEC.

"What I can say to you is that the decision to remove these comrades has nothing to do with improving service delivery. It is meant to ensure that those close to the new ANC leadership were placed in influential positions so that they could use their positions to accumulate wealth on behalf of their masters.

"We will definitely be mobilising support for Zandile Gumede and comrades in Msunduzi as we are of the view [that] they are being purged," a prominent ANC member in the Moses Mabhida region said.

The PEC is expected to announce all its decisions at a press conference at 13:00 on Tuesday.

Read more on:    msunduzi  |  anc  |  zandile gumede  |  ethekwini
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