KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has admitted that the redeployment of former eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede, to the legislature, while she is facing corruption charges, might not have been an ideal decision. She has been serving as a normal councillor in the eThekwini council after she and her entire executive committee were replaced by the ANC in 2019.
Gumede, four ANC councillors and municipal officials are alleged to have defrauded the eThekwini of about R208 million through a waste removal tender.
Gumede sworn in as KZN MPL despite corruption and fraud charges against her:
Zikalala was engaging with the South African National Editors’ Forum.
He says at the same time, the ANC was under pressure to fill the vacancy in the legislature left by the death of Ricardo Mthembu.
“The IEC would say should we take the next person or not. On the other side, its got an untenable situation in the municipality and that’s what then compelled us to have this balance. And once again I want to be clear; it’s not that we can say it’s the best. We ourselves understand that it’s only solving one problem with another problem.”
He says the ANC has resolved in the past that steps should be taken against members who fall foul of the law. He says the National Executive Committee is busy drawing up guidelines on how this should be implemented systematically.
“Others would say, in the state, we must withdraw them; withdraw them from government. They can remain because they have not been found guilty as yet, they can remain as ordinary members; that’s one view. Others would say, ‘no, let them step down.’ Others would say, ‘what about the ANC then? Should also in the ANC people who are charged have to step down from their positions or not?’”
Gumede’s redeployment slammed
On Thursday, Political Analyst Imraan Buccus described as “irrational” the decision to appoint Gumede as an ANC MPL in KZN.
Buccus said he is also disappointed at the ANC’s stance that Gumede is innocent until proven guilty.
“I think on the face of it there’s no rational reason for her appointment. However, this can be seen as a containment strategy and the reality is that the decision is made purely in the interest of the ANC. We have reached the point where the ANC sees itself as society and society is the ANC…I’m also disappointed by the argument that she is innocent until proven guilty. They may be true in law, but it also shows that the ethical base of the ANC has eroded significantly.”
DA KZN leader Zwakele Mncwango described the move as disappointing.
“We are indeed disappointed but not surprised by the ANC’s decision to promote Zandile Gumede to the legislature. This, we believe, is an insult to the people of KZN where someone who is facing serious allegations of corruption and has not yet cleared her name in the court of law can be promoted to a higher structure like the legislature.”