Zandile Gumede takes eThekwini despite legal challenges

Zandile Gumede. Picture: Siyanda Mayeza
Zandile Gumede. Picture: Siyanda Mayeza

The only metro in which the ANC did not lose significant support in the August 3 local government polls will on Tuesday install eThekwini chairperson Zandile Gumede as mayor of Durban following a week of violent protests in her home ward, and a legal challenge from unsuccessful independent candidates.

Zinhle Cele, spokesperson for the ANC in eThekwini, said the region’s list for eThekwini had been finalised and accepted by the province ahead of Tuesday’s inaugural council meeting.

The ANC will announce the deputy mayor, speaker and executive committee members at a briefing ahead of the council meeting.

“Everything is ready to go. People who are not happy with the result, should march to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), not the ANC. The ANC does not run elections. They should channel their anger towards the appropriate structures,” she said.

ANC sources said Fawzia Peer, a former ally of ousted chairperson and mayor James Nxumalo, had made a comeback following a shift of allegiance and was likely to be elected as deputy mayor of Durban.

Lekgoa Mapena, the current ethics committee chair, was set to replace Logie Naidoo as speaker, while it was recommended that the ethics committee be chaired by former trade unionist Nelisiwe Nyanisa.

Councillors Zama Sokhabase, Mondli Mthembu and Sipho Kaunda, all of whom are Gumede’s close allies, were all expected to get ANC seats on Tuesday. The ANC ultimately took 56% of the vote in eThekwini, down from 61% in 2011.

Independent “community candidate” Philani Ntuli, who stood in Ward 53 in Amaoti in Inanda, northern Durban, which was vacated by Gumede, approached the Electoral Court over the outcome of the elections in the ward.

A second independent candidate, Thulani Khunju, who stood in the neighbouring Ward 57 against the ANC’s chosen candidate and lost, is also challenging the result.

Their legal attempt to change the outcome was accompanied by a series of street protests from Monday, which grew increasingly violent and saw 19 residents arrested for arson, public violence and attempted murder on Tuesday.

A member of the metro police is in critical condition in hospital after being injured while trying to control unruly crowds rejecting the outcome of the elections.

Ntuli told City Press they had approached the Electoral Court after the IEC rejected their complaint.

“We submitted our complaint to the Electoral Court on August 12. We are also going to continue protesting until this is taken seriously,” said Ntuli.

“We believe that the process was not free and fair in these wards.”

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