The ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC) on Tuesday confirmed that it "resolved to redeploy" embattled eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, as well as uMsunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo.
This was according to provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli, who addressed a press briefing in Durban revealing that the PEC gathering, held over two days that ended on Monday, brought finality to weeks of speculation and debates over Gumede and Njilo’s continued role as mayors.
He said the PEC, as part of many sweeping leadership changes meant to revamp the image of the province, told the pair to step aside.
“The meeting focused extensively on questions of revolutionary morality, ethics, leadership integrity, competence assessment and the state of local government.”
“As a result, the PEC agreed that the continued and sustained decline in our two biggest cities of eThekwini Metropolitan and uMsunduzi Local Municipality required urgent attention leading to the redeployment, with immediate effect, of the two mayors and all ANC members serving in the executive committees of both cities,” said Ntuli.
The provincial secretary said the PEC had tasked the provincial working committee to fill vacancies created by the redeployments within seven days.
Gumede and Njilo’s dismissal was based on a report presented to the PEC by the working committee, which had held week-long meetings with the municipalities affected following complaints from citizens around a lack of service delivery in those areas.
The report notes that complaints ranged from, “substantial challenges to raise revenue due to infrastructure, various municipal grants not being properly dispersed due to poor planning, sustained patterns of wrongdoing and certain unethical behaviours, as well as, the inability to comply with the regulations suggested by the Auditor-General.”
Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail after she was arrested earlier this year on corruption charges related to a multimillion-rand tender.
Gumede was placed on special leave in June. This was extended twice after the PEC failed to reach a decision on her fitness to hold office.
It is unclear where Gumede and Njilo have been redeployed to with the ANC mum on the matter.
Gumede is expected to appear in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in January 2020.