With the ANC provincial leadership’s discussions around the appointment of the new Msunduzi mayor kept under wraps, the party’s leaders in the Moses Mabhida region say they are also out of the loop.Leader of the Moses Mabhida Regional Task Team (RTT) Thulani Xulu was yesterday unable to indicate who the possible candidates were to replace axed Msunduzi mayor Themba Njilo, saying the “provincial leadership will make an announcement once processes have been concluded”.Msunduzi residents are on tenterhooks following the axing of Njilo, his deputy Thobani Zuma, speaker Jabu Ngubo and all ANC members serving in the municipality’s Executive Committee (exco).The practice in the ANC has been that the region sends three names to the province’s top leaders, who then pick a single name.However, The Witness has established that the Moses Mabhida regional leadership will not be involved in the selection, as the process will be led by the ANC’s top five provincial officials, including provincial chairperson Sihle Zikalala, secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli and treasurer Nomusa Dube-Ncube.The KZN ANC officials, who held a meeting yesterday to deal with the issue of the vacancies opened up in the Msunduzi and eThekwini municipalities, are expected to announce new mayors within the next few days.While there are currently no indications that Njilo and axed Msunduzi Municipality leaders will contest their removal, Gumede and her supporters are planning to challenge the ANC Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) decision. ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) president Bathabile Dlamini — one of Gumede’s high profile supporters — has already fired the first salvo. Dlamini flew to Durban yesterday for an emergency ANCWL meeting where she warned ruling party bosses of a possible split over Gumede’s axing. “If we are not careful, in the near future, the very women that have swelled the ranks of the ANC are going to form their organisation and they will not care if it’s a feminist organisation. As long as it will meet their demands they will join it,” she said.Both Gumede and Dlamini supported former AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s presidential campaign.Gumede, who was previously placed on special leave by the PEC, is currently facing criminal charges in connection with her role in the eThekwini Municipality’s controversial R200 million Solid Waste tender. While the ANC KZN leadership had stated that Gumede and Njilo were axed for poor performance after the municipalities they were presiding over failed to deliver services, Gumede’s supporters insist that she has been purged. Spokesperson for Gumede’s supporters, Mzomuhle Dube, believes Gumede was a victim of political strategies. “When they asked her to take a leave of absence, it was based on the fact that she was in conflict with the law. Now suddenly they are coming with a new strategy saying they are assessing [her] performance,” he said.