eThekwini Mayor, Zandile Gumede, has broken her silence about the controversial announcement by a city official that the municipality has made a deal with former President Jacob Zuma to record an album of struggle songs.

Head of Parks Recreation and Culture, Thembinkosi Ngcobo, has been adamant that the municipality will be making the album as part of its Arts and Legacy programme.

Ngcobo made the announcement after visiting Zuma over the festive period.

Gumede has denied that the city has any record deal with Zuma to make an album of struggle songs.

Addressing the media, Gumede says politicians speak on matters of policy and the municipal manager is the one who makes announcements on administrative issues.

“Unfortunately, we read about this on the news like everybody. Nobody took us into confidence about this project. Under normal circumstances politicians make political announcements. As the ANC deployed mayor, I would have briefed the ANC caucus first before making such an announcement. The protocol was not followed and we are prepared to speak on the items once we get a full briefing. For now, there is no such.”

In her opening remarks of the first executive committee meeting of the year, Gumede said she does not want Zuma’s name dragged through the mud. This after the so-called record deal was criticised by opposition parties and representatives of the music industry alike.

Meanwhile, Gumede says an announcement about the erection of giant statues of former ANC leaders Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo in the city will be made in due course. A media briefing about the statues that would change the city landscape according to the municipality was indefinite.

“We will soon be making a full and public announcement. We will engage the office of the premier, the national government and involve families before giving you a detailed feedback. It is important that protocol be observed and be followed when it comes to certain political decisions. We are accountable to the public as public representatives and also to our caucuses as politically deployed cadres.”

The mayor came under fire from opposition Councillors when she refused to take questions about her opening remarks.

DA councillor, Heinz De Boer said the mayor claims to follow an open-door policy, but is not prepared to take questions.

Gumede says the issues will be discussed by the council at a later stage.

“Once the city manager has given me a report then we will deliberate on these issues. I wanted to lay the issues on the public domain because for now it seems that if the mayor and city manager are keeping quiet. We are not keeping quiet. We are following proper channels.”

The DA has previously written to the Municipal Manager, Sipho Nzuza, asking for clarity about the record deal and the statues.