The election of Zandile Gumede as the African National Congress (ANC) eThekwini’s regional chairperson is a sign that some party members are opposed to the step aside rule, according to political analyst Dr Fikile Vilakazi from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Gumede was elected despite having stepped down due to an ongoing corruption investigation. She was elected in her absence on Sunday night.
Vilakazi says he expects the step aside rule to be a strongly debated issue during the party’s upcoming national conference scheduled in December.
“It already shows that there [is a] faction that supports those who … [have been affected by the] step aside [rule] including Ace Magashule, Bathabile Dlamini and now Zandile Gumede. The step aside is a ghost and these comrades are [in] leadership of the ANC currently, under the leadership of Cyril Ramaphosa. [They are saying to the leadership] we do not respect you. We are not going to [be] ordered by you, we are not going to be told to step aside,” adds Vilakazi.
Meanwhile, Gumede says she is optimistic that she will soon be cleared of the corruption charges against her and take up her new position.
She has been re-elected chairperson of the ANC’s eThekwini region in KwaZulu-Natal, defeating her opponent Thabani Nyawose – with 210 votes against her opponent Nyawose’s 181 votes.
Gumede was at home during the conference because of the step-aside rule.
“I’m the Member of Parliament; I’m working for the community. My leadership said because I’ve been charged although I’m still waiting for the real charges. They said let me just pause for a second so that the society can see that the law is taking its course and as a leader, I must be seen to be complying.”
“I’m going to be off the hook. My team and I are going to work very hard,” Gumede says.
VIDEO: Zandile Gumede speaks to SABC News after being elected ANC eThekwini Regional Chairperson: