Why ANC insists Zandile Gumede and others must step down

ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi / African News Agency (ANA)

‘We decided to bring a senior team that won’t be held to ransom by factionalism,’ ANC KZN provincial leader Sihle Zikalala said.

ANC deputy-secretary general Jessie Duarte has announced that those executive committee (exco) councillors in the eThekwini metro, who were ordered to resign, must vacate their seats.

Duarte was briefing the media at the ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal headquarters on Tuesday, saying implicated exco members, like under-fire Mayor Zandile Gumede, must resign but would remain on as normal councillors.

Duarte said it was the general under-performance of the eThekwini metro, and not the pending corruption case against Gumede, that saw her recalled from her position as mayor.

“The reasons for her and the executive committee (exco) being removed had little to do with her arrest but had more to do with the general assessment of the performance of the municipality and she has accepted that,” Duarte told a contingent of journalists on Tuesday.

Duarte also confirmed that a senior team of MECs would be deployed to the metro exco. Incoming mayor and current KZN transport MEC Mxolisi Kaunda will lead the charge with former MEC in Treasury Belinda Scott as his second in command. Provincial Executive member and ANC provincial Women’s League Treasurer Wesizwe Thusi would take up the post as speaker.

Speaking on the assessment of Gumede’s performance as mayor, ANC KZN provincial leader Sihle Zikalala didn’t pull any punches.

“We can confirm that we found a decline politically and administratively. While politically they would be able to take decisions, there would be less implementation. If you will say they have been performing above 30%, that would be amazing.”

He said they were beginning reform on a political level first.

“We are not targeting any individual, but we are saying the collective must withdraw. The collective we are deploying has a responsibility to stabilise the administration. You cannot have an institution which has no systems and people do as they wish. You cannot come in and threaten other people and do things as you want.”

Zikalala added that they brought a senior team in to the municipality to avoid factionalism.

“We decided to bring a senior team that won’t be held to ransom by factionalism.”

Duarte said Gumede was a “very senior, respected member of the ANC” and that she accepted the decision to remove her.

“She has undertaken to work with the council to unite the council as well as go back on the ground and assist in the unification of the ANC.”

She said Kaunda’s first task would be to rebuild the integrity of the city.

“He will have to get the administrative sections to work properly. Get the collections system properly up and running. Make sure that the city waste management is handled properly and that water provisions are dealt with properly.”

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