Zandile Gumede, Themba Njilo officially out as ANC makes sweeping leadership changes

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eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede (Gallo Images)
eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede (Gallo Images)

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal has confirmed embattled eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, as well as Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo, will be asked to step aside in one of many sweeping leadership changes it is making in the province.

After weeks of debating Gumede's continued role as mayor, the party's provincial executive committee (PEC) has finally decided to relieve her of her duties in the metro and redeploy her elsewhere.

This after the PEC held another special two-day meeting this week.

Based on a report presented it to it by a provincial working committee (PWC), the PEC acknowledged that the Msunduzi and eThekwini municipalities, where Njilo and Gumede were heads, "required urgent attention".

"All ANC members serving as Exco members at eThekwini Municipality and Msunduzi Municipality should be redeployed with immediate effect," provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli said on Tuesday at a press briefing in Durban.

All vacancies would have to be filled within seven days, he said.

The PWC held week-long meetings with all municipalities in order to compile their report, Ntuli explained, following many complaints from citizens about service delivery in those areas.

"These concerns raised from issues such as water provisions, water infrastructure, refuse removal, and allegations pertaining to matters of fraud and corruption," Ntuli said.

"The ANC made a commitment to listen to all our people."

Some of the observations made by the PWC were:

- In certain municipalities, there were substantial challenges to raise revenue due to infrastructure;
- Various municipal grants were not properly dispersed due to poor planning;
- There was a sustained pattern of wrongdoing and certain unethical behaviour;
- There was a inability to comply with the regulations suggested by the Auditor-General.

Ntuli added that the PEC believed the province was poised to influence the ANC as a national movement through who it chose as its leaders.

Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail after being arrested earlier this year on corruption charges related to a multimillion-rand Durban Solid Waste tender.

She was placed on special leave by the party for 30 days in June, which had since been extended twice after the PEC failed to reach a decision by the first lapsed date.

She will next appear in the Durban Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in January 2020.

News24 previously reported that the ANC's provincial working committee (PWC) had recommended that she be recalled after it compiled a report into her fitness to hold office, two independent officials told News24.

However, the PEC could not agree on what steps to take next over Gumede, who holds lots of influence in KwaZulu-Natal and is a known supporter of former president Jacob Zuma.

The ANC in the province was caught between a rock and a hard place, with regions threatening a revolt should the party not be "consistent" when deciding on the fate of several regional leaders, City Press reported.

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