The IFP not only wants former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede removed as a member of the provincial legislature, (MPL) but it also wants her to repay the salary she has received in the position.
The party has filed papers “in the public interest” in the Pietermaritzburg high court seeking to set aside her appointment in light of the criminal charges she is facing.
It was brought by the IFP and its president, Velenkosini Hlabisa. The application is against the Speaker of the legislature, Gumede, KZN Premier Sihle Zikalala, President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC’s KZN caucus.
The matter has been set down for hearing in January.
Hlabisa said in an affidavit that it is unconstitutional to have appointed Gumede in light of the fact that she faces criminal charges for fraud, corruption and racketeering in excess of R400 million. In addition, she has been found unfit for office by her own party.
He also said that she was effectively appointed by the ANC as an MPL, despite knowing that her immediate suspension from office on full pay was inevitable.
Hlabisa said that on August 17, it was announced in the media that Gumede was appointed as a member of the KZN legislature. He said that she is on R50 000 bail and was removed as mayor by her own party last year, following an investigation which concluded that she was the cause of “a lack of service delivery within the eThekwini Municipality”.
Based on the findings of the investigation and the seriousness of the charges, she was recalled as mayor.
Hlabisa said the premier was quoted saying that under the new executive, eThekwini had made significant progress in “driving social economic growth and development” which had been hindered under her leadership.
Hlabisa said that the only consequence of her appointment was that she would commence receiving the salary of a KwaZulu-Natal legislator, which is over R1 million a year, while not being able to perform any functions or attend any sittings of the legislature.
“The Constitution requires accountable government, but how can government be accountable if it appoints token figures to serve as legislators?”
Her appointment also goes against the ANC’s own policy statements. He added that in a media statement in August, the ANC’s provincial executive committee stated that it had been determined that members who are being investigated for corruption charges should not be in government office pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.
He added that Gumede was immediately placed under suspension following her appointment. It follows that she has not been in a position to perform any services for, or attend any meetings of the legislature since her suspension.
“It would be inimical for Ms Gumede to profit from her appointment, which was nothing more than a sham and an indictment on the constitutional order.”