Embattled eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede will soon be removed from office, following a decision made by the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Executive Committee (KZN PEC) on Monday evening.
We spoke to eThekwini’s DA Councillor Nicole Graham, who said that her party are awaiting “final confirmation” on the decision. However, she labelled the potential development as “a step in the right direction”:
“It’s something we’ve been waiting for. This doesn’t end with Zandile Gumede, however. It’s about undoing an establishment where’s she set up systems to benefit individuals, and not the people. It’s a step in the right direction, but there remains a lot of damage that must be undone.”
Zandile Gumede – latest news:
The executive authority had been mulling over a decision to fire Gumede, amid accusations of rampant corruption in her office. The public official is facing charges of fraud in court, and was only granted a postponement last week. However, following a twice-extended suspension from her duties as mayor, it may be third time unlucky for Gumede:
[BREAKING NEWS] KZN PEC resolves to axe eThekwini mayor, Zandile Gumede pic.twitter.com/iAHiyozsjm
— eNCA (@eNCA) August 12, 2019
In a strange twist that was reported later in the evening, a Times Live journalist claimed that Gumede told the publication that she was “in church, and “had not been informed about the alleged decision to axe her“.
Why is Zandile Gumede set to be removed as eThekwini Mayor
The ultimate undoing of Zandile Gumede has proved to be the illegal tender she awarded to Durban Solid Waste (DSW). The sanitation company were paid an inflated R25 million to provide 800 chemical toilets to the city. This lead to the mayor being formally charged with corruption and fraud.
Gumede and Human Settlements Chair Mondli Mthembu are also accused of keeping four service providers in their employ, without observing the correct legal channels. They are said to have flouted tender processes, and it’s reported they manipulated the way service supply chains work in Durban.
Pay back the money
Zandile Gumede has also faced calls to return the salary she collected during her ongoing suspension. As a municipal mayor, her yearly salary works out to be R1.35 million – which is roughly the same as what Julius Malema makes as the leader of a “minority party” in Parliament – it’s good work if you can get it.
That breaks down to monthly payments of R112 000. So, while eThekwini tries to fix the damage caused by the mayoral department, Gumede will reel-in yet another six-figure payment. As of Monday 12 August, it is believed she will have pocketed R224 000 during her two months of leave.
Other eThekwini city officials implicated in corruption
Meanwhile, eNCA have reported that Zandile Gumede has been axed together with the speaker and party chief whip in the Metro, Nelly Nyanisa. The PEC was expected to make their decision on Sunday, but discussion overran and continued throughout Monday. Seemingly, the ANC are ready to cut ties with the scandal-plagued mayor.
Gumede enjoys a solid support base in Durban, and her backers are no strangers to making their voices heard. Protesters who have campaigned in favour of the outgoing mayor have previously held night vigils and shut down the city centre to express their views. It’s likely similar disruptions could take place, pending her dismissal