The IFP and its leader Velenkosini Hlabisa say they have approached the courts to remove embattled former eThekwini mayor and benched legislature member Zandile Gumede from office.
“The IFP in KZN has today filed papers with the Pietermaritzburg High Court, requesting that the judiciary have Zandile Gumede’s appointment by the ANC in KZN – as a Member of the KZN Provincial Legislature (MPL) – overturned,” IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said on Wednesday.
The case is expected to be heard on 14 January 2021, with Hlabisa saying legislature speaker Ntobeko Boyce and the ANC in KZN were first and second respondents respectively.
Hlabisa said he made numerous calls on the ANC in KZN, “and our plea to the ANC’s national leadership to intervene on this matter, have fallen on deaf ears”.
“Therefore, we are now taking this fight against the irrational appointment of Zandile Gumede as an MPL to the courts. We have exhausted all other avenues and it is now up to our bid in the High Court to settle matters once and for all.”
Gumede was controversially appointed as a member of the KZN legislature on 19 August amid corruption-related allegations stemming from the Durban Solid Waste R430 million matter currently in court.
Shortly after her appointment, the ANC in KZN said they subscribed to the notion of innocent until proven guilty.
Her appointment sparked a national outcry with President Cyril Ramaphosa and the national ANC declaring that its members in public office had to “step down” from their positions if they were implicated in criminal cases.
Gumede had done so, but opposition parties and civic bodies lamented that she still earned a R1-million-a-year salary without providing services to the legislature.
Gumede is one of the main accused, with the Hawks implicating her in using her position as eThekwini mayor to influence the tender.
Hlabisa said Gumede “tanked” service delivery in eThekwini when she was the mayor, “as she placed herself and her needs above the lives and livelihoods of the people in the metro”.
“The ANC’s refusal to entirely rid the public service in the province of Zandile Gumede’s brand of failed leadership and poor management is blindly robbing the residents of KZN.
“It is a slap in the face by the ANC to the public that: Zandile Gumede, while suspended, earns a lavish salary doing absolutely nothing while she is being investigated by the law enforcement agencies for alleged corrupt dealings.”
ANC KZN spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the party had not yet received court papers.
“Once we do, we will be in a position to respond.”
KZN legislature spokesperson Nomusa Phungula said the speaker of the house had not received court papers either.
“The legislature has not received court papers at this time, therefore we cannot comment.”
Gumede’s spokesperson Mzomuhle Dube declined to comment, referring News24 to the ANC and legislature officials.