The axe has fallen and scandalous eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede, has been removed from her position after she was redeployed by the KwaZulu-Natal ANC provincial executive committee (PEC) along with speaker of the council, William Mapena, chief whip Neli Nyanisa, and Msunduzi Mayor Themba Njilo.

“All ANC members serving as Exco members at those two municipalities should be redeployed with immediate effect,” said Provincial Secretary, Mdumiseni Ntuli at a media briefing in Durban, on Tuesday. Following the shocking announcement, it is still unknown where the dismissed party members will be redeployed to. Gumede is currently out on R50 000 bail and faces fraud and corruption charges with regards to a R208 million waste management tender which led to her initial suspension and imposed leave since June this year.

Together with Gumede, senior ANC councillor, Mondli Mthembu and nine others, also face similar chargesr.

According to Ntuli it was cited that the reason the party decided to fire Gumede was the ongoing billing crisis where many people were incorrectly billed and ongoing uncollected litter issues which plagued areas like uMlazi for years. Meanwhile, it is uncertain if Acting Mayor, Fawzia Peer, will face a similar fate as Gumede, as the ANC cleans up the corruption-riddled municipalities under its leadership in KZN. The Democratic Alliance (DA) in eThekwini responded to the mayor’s sacking and DA eThekwini Caucus leader, Councillor Nicole Graham, said, “The ANC have been dragging their feet on this matter for months at the expense of the people of eThekwini.

Gumede’s firing is a direct result of pressure from opposition parties, the media and the people who live in this city. They have seen the effects of the chaos that Zandile Gumede has unleashed on eThekwini first-hand, and stood up to say no more. Gumede’s axing, however, is only the first step. The investigative report that led to her arrest explains just how Gumede had interfered with key line departments and appointments to capture the municipality. She has interfered with procurement processes and made sure that those close to her have benefitted.”

Graham added, “She (Gumede) has allegedly been aided and abetted by municipal officials, fellow councillors and the ANC leadership in KZN. If good governance is to be restored, all of those who have worked with her need to go too. The names of the 62 councillors who were mentioned in court as having worked with Gumede to implement her corrupt schemes have still not been released. This means that almost a third of eThekwini’s 219 councillors were involved in and have benefitted from Gumede’s actions. The ANC and the council must urgently resolve to act against these councillors and fire them too.”

As political parties air their views on Gumede’s axing, local movement of shack dwellers, Abahlali baseMjondolo, welcomed the ANC’s decision to remove her as mayor and spokesperson, S’bu Zikode, said in a press release, “We hope that the ANC is not going to redeploy the people that it has now fired in other public positions. We also hope that the ANC will take the integrity of people it deploys to government very seriously.”