The ANC’s integrity commission has asked eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to step down.
A senior national ANC leader told City Press that the party’s provincial working committee in KwaZulu-Natal met on Thursday night and decided that Gumede should step aside from her mayoral position in order to deal with her court case.
“It was decided that the ANC’s integrity commission should inform her of the decision.”
However, another senior ANC source privy to the details said: “The letter had already been sent to her on Wednesday.”
This was a day after she appeared in court on charges of corruption, money laundering and fraud, alongside eThekwini speaker Mondli Mthembu, and businessman Craig Ponnen in the Durban regional specialised commercial crimes court on Tuesday.
A senior party source said: “The commission is of the view that the allegations against Gumede were serious and she had to clear her name first before she could return to her post.”
Gumede’s spokesperson, Mthunzi Gumede, was not immediately available for comment. This article will be updated as soon as he responds to requests for comment.
Gumede and her two co-accused were released on R50 000 bail with strict bail conditions.
The mayor joins 15 other co-accused who are accused of corruption, originating from the alleged unlawful awarding of tenders without following proper procurement processes.
The charge sheet states that Gumede and Mthembu allegedly turned the screws on their officials to break the law.
“The accused in their capacity as the mayor of eThekwini Municipality and councillor at the municipality did unlawfully and/or wilfully, [and] deliberately influence or attempted to influence the accounting officer, the chief financial officer, senior managers, or any other official of the municipality to contravene a provision of this act or to refrain from complying with the requirements of the municipal finance management act,” the charge sheet states.
Gumede and Mthembu are also alleged to have influenced “officials from the Cleansing and Solid Waste unit and Supply Chain Management. This resulted in an engagement in an unlawful procurement process for refuse collection, street cleaning and illegal dumping for various townships within the jurisdiction of the eThekwini municipality.”
According to the prosecution, the appointed service providers who are also among the accused in this case, were not on the municipality’s database, did not have trucks or the capacity to do the work, had no office and no waste removal certificates either.
Gumede and her co-accused will reappear in court on August 8 to join the other accused who were arrested earlier this year in the dock.