The African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal has denied that Zandile Gumede has received a promotion in being appointed as a member of the provincial legislature.
The former eThekwini Mayor was sworn in on Wednesday – despite her ongoing fraud and corruption case related to a multi-million rand waste removal tender.
Gumede was removed from her position as mayor in 2019.
ANC KZN Spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela says the party believes Gumede is innocent until proven guilty.
Ntombela says, “No, it is not a promotion. Local government is the core area of service. The legislature’s role and responsibilities is implementing legislation and overseeing the functionality of some of the government departments. Her being an ordinary MPL should be earning far less than what she would be earning in the municipality, if I am not mistaken…”
“The ANC has got the responsibility of ensuring that the only metro you have in the province services our people and what is of paramount importance for the ANC is that we cannot throw away our individuals until the processes of law take its course. At this stage she is innocent until proven guilty,” Ntombela added.
ANC KZN welcomes Zandile Gumede as a Member of the Provincial Legislature:
Corruption Watch has described the ANC’s decision to redeploy Gumede to the provincial legislature as appalling – saying the move does not show that the party is serious about tackling corruption.
Executive Director of Corruption Watch David Lewis says, “I think it is in contravention of the ANC’s resolution taken at their last conference. This is really appalling. I don’t know how, with any credibility, does the president continue to claim there is this resolute fight against corruption. Until the ANC cleans up its act, I don’t know how they are going to be tackling corruption.”
In response to these perceptions, Ntombela says, “There are issues which bring the organisation into doubt on its sincerity and programme of renewing itself. In these circumstances, as an organisation we have found that in some instances, how do we act on those matters and speak with one voice on those issues, and what are the implications thereof?”
“We are not denying that the cloud hanging over her head at this stage is not a good image for herself and the organisation, but we think at this stage it is the best decision for us to take forward the issues of eThekwini and how we can stabilise the municipality,” added Ntombela.
Gumede, four ANC councillors, municipal officials and contractors are facing fraud and corruption charges. They are alleged to have defrauded the city of about R208 million through a waste removal tender.
The State alleges that the initial tender cost was exorbitantly inflated from R25 million to R208 million. It also alleged that they manipulated tender processes and split the contract between four inexperienced companies.
In October last year, the Hawks and the Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU) raided the former mayor’s Inanda home, north of Durban, and seized assets.
The former mayor is out on R50 000 bail, while the four councillors – arrested late last year – are out on R5 000 bail each.
In the video below, Hawks raid Zandile Gumede’s home: