In a surprise political move which was kept under wraps for several days, the ANC in KZN has shifted former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede from the municipality to the provincial legislature in Pietermaritzburg.
Gumede, who is fighting to get her corruption and fraud chargers permanently struck off the Durban commercial crimes court’s roll, was sworn in on Wednesday morning. The charges emanate from a R389 million waste tender which was issued while she was the mayor of the municipality in 2017.
It appears the decision to redeploy Gumede was taken by the party’s provincial deployment committee which convened over the weekend. The committee is chaired by former MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu in his position as the deputy provincial chairperson.
Gumede replaces the late Ricardo Mthembu (who was also party provincial spokesperson) who passed away early last month from Covid-19 complications.
After her sacking in August last year, Gumede continued in her role as proportional representative councillor of the ANC but the opposition complained she was not attending council meetings.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nhlakanipho Ntombela said the decision was taken by the province after consulting with Luthuli house (ANC national head office).
“After consulting with the national office, it was agreed that we should deployee Mam Gumede (Zandile) to the provincial legislature and Amon Zondi to the national assembly (parliament in Cape Town),” Ntombela said.
Gumede is yet to publicly comment about the move to the legislature which is viewed by some of her supporters as a major victory and a strategic move.
Some of Gumede’s supporters previously told Independent Media that while she is the frontrunner to bounce back as the eThekwini ANC regional chairperson, she no longer harbours the ambition of returning as mayor where she is up against Thabani Nyawose.
“This is a chess move for us in the region. Now that she is out of the way and cannot be mayor again, our camp will attract more supporters from the other camps,” one of her longtime supporters from KwaMashu said to Independent Media shortly after the swearing in.