KwaZulu-Natal ANC secretary-general Mdumiseni Ntuli announced on Tuesday that eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede’s leave of absence has been extended until the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) meets again at the weekend.
Ntuli said the ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) granted the extension for the seven days when it would meet again to hold discussions about the more than 30 municipalities run by the party in the province.
Ntuli said the agenda of the PEC’s Monday meeting was “very detailed” and dealt with “extensive” assessment of the municipalities led by the party in the province.
The secretary-general said the extension of Gumede’s leave of absence would not undermine service delivery in eThekwini because there was an acting mayor serving in Gumede’s absence.
He added that the extension should not be seen as a delaying exercise that would undermine the capacity of the city.
Ntuli said the PEC would convene this weekend to finalise Gumede’s issue, and that the ANC was concerned about its integrity and its reputation and how the party was perceived.
Ntuli said ANC members who had been part of the protests in eThekwini following Gumede’s suspension would be charged by the party.
According to him, the PEC had not consulted the ANC national executive committee (NEC) on the extension of Gumede’s leave of absence.
Ntuli said in the interest of justice, Gumede and other party leaders who faced charges in court should be given an opportunity to make submissions before a decision on their fate is made.
The PEC would take decisions on how to turn around ANC run municipalities in the province and where necessary change the leadership of some of these municipalities, Ntuli said.
He said the discussions the PEC held on Monday were not only about Gumede but also about other party leaders, including embattled Newcastle mayor Dr Ntuthuko Mahlaba, who is facing four charges relating to the murder of Wandile (Manqasha) Ngobeni, a former ANC Youth League (ANCYL) official, who was killed in May 2016.
This was the second time that Gumede’s special leave was extended as a decision on her future is still to be made.
Ntuli said provincial leaders had received a report from the Provincial Working Committee (PWC) and had decided to allow more time for the affected members to finalise their matters.
The special leave, therefore, applies to both Gumede, who is currently facing corruption charges in the Durban Specialised Crimes Court, and Newcastle mayor Ntuthuko Mahlaba, who was arrested on a murder charge.
(Additional reporting, News24 Wire)