The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday filed papers with the Pietermaritzburg High Court in an attempt to have the deployment of controversial former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to the provincial legislature overturned.
“We have approached the court requesting that the judiciary have Zandile Gumede’s appointment by the ANC ... as a member of the provincial legislature (MPL) overturned,” said IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa on Wednesday.
The case has been scheduled to be heard on January 14 2021.
Hlabisa said “numerous calls” made by his party “on the ANC in KZN, and our plea to the ANC’s national leadership to intervene on this matter, have fallen on deaf ears”.
He said the IFP was therefore left with no option but to seek legal intervention.
“We are now taking this fight against the irrational appointment of Gumede as an MPL to the courts.”
“We have exhausted all other avenues and it is now up to our bid in the high court to settle matters once and for all,” said Hlabisa.
Gumede – along with 16 municipal officials – faces fraud, corruption and racketeering charges linked to a tender scam valued at more than R400 million.
Hlabisa said: “Gumede tanked service delivery in eThekwini when she was the mayor, as she placed herself and her needs above the lives and livelihoods of the people in the metro.”
“The ANC’s refusal to entirely rid the public service in the province of Gumede’s brand of failed leadership and poor management is blindly robbing the residents of KZN”.
He described her appointment to the provincial legislature as “a slap in the face by the ANC to the public”.
“Gumede, while suspended, earns a lavish salary doing absolutely nothing while she is being investigated by law enforcement agencies for alleged corrupt dealings.”
“We cannot allow the ANC to continue to recycle and redeploy failed and corrupt cadres within its ranks in key government and administration positions at the expense of the people of KZN and the country.”
According to Hlabisa, this matter goes beyond “just the Gumede saga”, saying their court action was meant to “send a clear message that our country can no longer tolerate the ANC’s business-as-usual approach when it comes to placing corrupt individuals at the helm of key institutions”.
Gumede was expected to step down by the ANC after the party’s special national executive meeting gave credence to its conference resolution that members implicated in serious crime ought to step aside until such a time as their cases are resolved.
Although she stepped down as eThekwini mayor, the ANC pulled a surprise when it announced that she would be moving to the KZN legislature.
Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail, with her case set to be heard on December 10.