Zandile Gumede ‘found out about redeployment via text’

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede. Picture: Bongani Mbatha / African News Agency (ANA)

It is unclear where the ANC is planning to place her.

Axed eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede found out about her redeployment via a text message, a source in her inner circle has said.

Gumede was apparently unaware of the decision by the ANC’s provincial executive committee (PEC) to redeploy her until she received a text telling her of her fate.

News24 spoke to two people in her inner circle who said she was appealing the decision with the national executive committee (NEC). This after the PEC announced she would be redeployed.

It is unclear where the ANC is planning to place her.

She then resigned and had now withdrawn her resignation after consultation, the two party insiders told News24.

Earlier on Thursday, sources told News24 Gumede had met with the top six last week, which led to her decision to withdraw.

Gumede, who still enjoys significant support in the eThekwini region, is expected to meet with the PEC on Friday to discuss a way forward. The eThekwini region is the party’s largest in the country.

ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe confirmed to News24 the top six had met with Gumede last week.

It is understood they had cautioned the PEC against the decision to recall Gumede owing to her influence in the region. She was replaced with Mxolisi Kaunda after the provincial working committee (PWC) recommended she be removed.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jesse Duarte said senior leaders within the party would now have to intervene.

“I can confirm that we will on Monday be meeting the provincial office bearers of the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, where we will receive a report regarding Zandile Gumede,” Duarte said.

News24 also understands Gumede threatened to go to the courts if the top six did not intervene.

Earlier this month, Gumede spoke to News24 and indicated she would approach the NEC about the matter. In the interview, she said she would be writing to the ANC’s NEC to find out how she had been branded incompetent.

“It’s important that I do that. All what I wish to know is the process. It [the NEC] must say why it called me incompetent. I’m a leader internationally. I have accolades, they must prove how and why,” she said.

Gumede was placed on special leave and after a two-day special meeting, the ANC’s PEC enacted the recommendations of the PWC that she be recalled along with the entire executive committee.

The party’s provincial secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli, said the PWC, which compiled a report on local governance in the province, had raised complaints from residents about issues such as water provision, water infrastructure and refuse removal as well as allegations of fraud and corruption.

The ANC postponed a full eThekwini council meeting on Thursday, where Kaunda would have been sworn in as the new mayor. No alternative date has been given.

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