KZN PEC to meet with top six over arrest of political heads

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is seen during a media briefing. (Jabulani Langa, Gallo Images, Daily Sun, file)
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is seen during a media briefing. (Jabulani Langa, Gallo Images, Daily Sun, file)

The ANC KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive committee (PEC) is expected to meet with the party's top six on Monday about the future of outgoing eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede and issues in that region.

ANC KZN spokesperson Ricardo Mthembu told News24 the PEC would meet the party's top brass at Luthuli House.

Insiders told News24 the PEC was expected to discuss brewing factional battles in the province over the suspension and arrest of deployees.

READ | Zandile Gumede found out about redeployment via text, source claims

Gumede was placed on special leave and after a two-day special meeting, the PEC enacted the recommendations of the provincial working committee (PWC) that she be recalled along with the entire executive committee.

But she threw a curveball last week when she withdrew her resignation as eThekwini mayor, seemingly emboldened after a meeting with the top six at Luthuli House.

Fraud and corruption

READ | Zandile Gumede met with ANC top six before resignation withdrawal - sources

Sources in Gumede's circle told News24 that in that meeting, she was told top officials warned the executive against removing her as mayor pending the outcome of her fraud and corruption case.

In the case, she and others are accused of charges related to a R200m tender.

According to a well-placed source, the PEC is expected to detail how the arrest and suspension of heavy hitters will hurt their chances in the local elections in 2021.

"We are dealing with a problem where our leaders are being hauled to the courts and crucified by the media with little evidence. There is a strong sense that the police are being used to cripple the KZN and those that backed former president Jacob Zuma.

"What we have to be aware of is that this will affect us going into 2021. The president (Cyril Ramaphosa) needs to be aware of the perceptions that exist of the ANC in our province. Why target just KZN? We don't see any big arrests in other provinces," a source told News24.

READ | 'They crucified me in Women's Month' - axed eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede says she 'won't take it lying down'

Political killings have plagued the coastal province in recent years, leading to the establishment of a special task team to resolve more than 132 murder investigations.

Former Harry Gwala district mayor Mluleki Ndobe, was among those arrested for the murder of ANC Youth League leader Sindiso Magaqa. But charges against Ndobe were later provisionally withdrawn due to a lack of evidence.

Newcastle mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba is out on bail for the alleged murder of ANC Youth League official Wandile Ngobeni.

The insider said secretary general (SG) Ace Magashule, who is said to be in Gumede's corner, will question the PEC about its decision to remove her.

"The SG met with her at Luthuli House two weeks ago along with some in the top six. He did say he had cautioned the PEC against removal before the court processes are concluded. They must answer to that. The PEC relied on the provincial working committee report, but that report was not endorsed by the NEC (national executive committee)," the source said.

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