ANC tells its Durban mayor to calm rowdy followers

eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede.
eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede.
Image: Thuli Dlamini

The ANC in KwaZulu-Natal wants embattled eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede to publicly distance herself from her unruly supporters, who are calling for her suspension to be lifted.

ANC provincial secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli told the Sunday Times the party expects someone in Gumede’s position to be critical of the conduct of such supporters.

This follows a rowdy march on Tuesday that brought the Durban city centre to a standstill. Police prevented protesters from forcing open the doors of the Durban City Hall. The protesters demanded that municipal staff and councillors stop working until Gumede’s 30-day suspension was lifted.

Gumede was suspended and the ANC regional executive committee she chairs was disbanded after she was charged in court with corruption.

Ntuli said though the ANC had not spoken directly to Gumede, it expected her to speak out against such hooliganism.

“We have no intention or desire to meet her,” he said.

‘Minimum standards’

“But those who are coming to the office introduce themselves as defenders of the mayor. We would expect the mayor, even besides being told by the [ANC’s provincial executive], to disassociate herself with the behaviour we have seen outside the provincial office.

“At that level of leadership, when you are a mayor of a city, you ought to have some minimum standards and consciousness.”

He said Gumede should not have to be reminded of this by the executive.

“We want her to accept that there are things that must not be said and done in her name.

“She is still a member of the regional task team, so there are things she should be frowning upon when they happen, especially when they are done in her name. There is an expectation that she must do something or say something,” Ntuli said.

ANC provincial leaders are expected to meet Gumede’s supporters tomorrow.

Speaking on behalf of the mayor’s supporters, Mzomhle Dube said they were not satisfied with the explanation given by provincial leaders on why Gumede had been suspended.

‘Trying to understand’

“What we have a problem with is that the [provincial executive] is trying to run a secondary process.”

Dube said the protesters were “trying to understand the dynamics of the matter that is in court”.

Gumede is on R50,000 bail.

She faces corruption, fraud and money-laundering charges.

Dube suggested the charges were just a ploy to implicate Gumede in wrongdoing in order to remove her from the municipality.

“The people who came to eThekwini to investigate, they looked for anything that they can link to the mayor. They have arrested people and asked those people to implicate the mayor.

“We are saying the mayor is not an executive mayor,” he said.

“Her role in the administration is that of an oversight role. You can’t then fault her alone. Where was the accounting officer? Not unless they can show us where she signs, or she forced people. Then we want proof.”